Having witnesses who can attest to seeing a serious car accident can be very helpful when filing your insurance claim. These people can also be useful in the event that you need to pursue compensation from the driver in civil court for your losses and damages. However, having the right witnesses is crucial, as having the wrong witness can actually hurt your claim. In some car accidents, the only ones who saw the incident occur are the two drivers involved. Then, it becomes each driver’s word against the other. But, if you have a witness who supports your side of the story, it can waver the outcome into your favor.
How important are witnesses really?
Let’s put it this way, one of the first things a car insurance adjuster is going to ask is whether there were any witnesses aside from the drivers. The reason why they request this, is because an insurance adjuster knows that both drivers will probably have opposing versions of the accident that put themselves in the best light. Oftentimes, there are discrepancies between the driver’s accounts, so having a reliable witness can help the adjuster decide which version of the collision is most accurate.
Is every witness considered credible?
The testimony of a third party witness who saw the car accident happen is only useful if that individual is credible. A person who sees a collision unfold is usually focused in the moment on their own safety and trying to not get caught up in the wreckage.
But, there are other witnesses who are truly concerned for the well being of those in the accident and will approach the scene to see if everyone is okay. These are people who are most likely to be genuine when presenting their side of the story, as they are empathetic to the situation. Here are questions your attorney may ask you to help determine whether a witness’ has credibility:
- Was the witness in his or her own vehicle and trying to avoid getting caught up in the accident? Or were they walking as a pedestrian nearby watching it happen from a safe distance?
- Was the witness distracted by anything, such as children, walking a dog, or people they were with?
- Did the witness have a chance to observe the vehicle for at least a few seconds prior to the collision, to be able to identify if that car was speeding, running a red light, etc.?
- Is this witness a convicted felon or have a history of criminal activity?
- Does the witness have a personal interest in the outcome of the claim? Such as, was their friend or family member involved in the accident?
- Does the witness have poor hearing or eyesight?
- Is it possible that the witness was under the influence of drugs or alcohol when they saw the collision occur?
- Does the witness change his or her story after being asked the same questions? Do they seem easily confused?
After being involved in a car accident, speak with a car accident attorney in Indianapolis, IN about the details of your claim and next steps. Contact a law firm today.
Thanks to Ward & Ward Law Firm for their insight into personal injury claims and how witnesses can influence the credibility of your car accident claim.