A car accident witness statement is an important piece of evidence. A carefully written statement can help a personal injury attorney build a strong case and help the victim get the compensation they deserve.
In many accidents, identifying the at-fault parties isn’t straightforward. Eyewitness testimony can shed much-needed light on the circumstances of the accident and bring the attorney and insurance company closer to finalizing the settlement. Read to learn more about writing an in-depth car accident witness statement.
Why Car Accident Witness Statements Are Important
When a car accident leads to a personal injury case, both sides conduct an investigation. While the victim and their attorney work hard to collect evidence to support the case, the insurance company and at-fault party search for evidence that proves their innocence.
A car accident witness statement can help or hurt the case for either party since it typically provides an unbiased description of the accident.
Unbiased Attention to Detail
Witnesses can provide the details of the accident from a different angle than those involved. Recording this information can help police, insurance companies, and attorneys draw conclusions about the circumstances of the accident, including:
- Extent of damages
- External factors
Since witnesses aren’t under as much stress as accident participants, they have a much better chance of noticing minor yet crucial details.
A Deciding Factor
If there are doubts about who is at fault after an accident, a witness statement can become the deciding factor. In some cases, both parties may be liable for a car accident, which can affect the compensation amount.
For example, in Louisiana, the comparative fault law allows you to recover damages if you are partially responsible for the accident. However, the settlement amount is reduced according to the percentage of that fault.
A witness statement can help the judge or insurance company evaluate that percentage and offer a fair settlement.
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Key Elements of a Car Accident Witness Statement
If you witness an accident, it is considered courteous to stop and ensure those involved are ok. If the damage from the accident is significant enough, staying to provide a witness statement for the required accident report can be extremely helpful.
When writing your account of the accident, make sure to include the following important information:
- Your contact information (full legal name, address, phone number, email)
- An extensive description of all accident circumstances (what happened before, during, and after the accident)
- Your perception of the damage to both vehicles and injuries of all accident participants
- A description of weather conditions (rain, snow, ice, poor visibility) and road conditions (potholes, wet surface)
- Your position (where you were standing in relation to the accident site)
- A description of all parties involved in the accident
- The date and your signature
If you’ve noticed anything unusual about the accident, make sure to include it in the report. However, try to avoid making any guesses or assumptions, which could inaccurately portray the events of the accident.
Tips for Writing a Solid Statement
When writing a statement, you should understand that it’s a significant legal document that can make or break someone’s case. That’s why it’s important to be as clear, honest, and unbiased as possible.
All the information you provide in the statement must be accurate to the best of your knowledge. Share all the facts without leaving anything out. However, if you aren’t sure about something, it’s better not to include it.
It’s important to write a statement as soon after the accident as possible. With time, your memories can fade.
If you review the events of the accident numerous times, you may become confused about the details. Try to share the facts while they are fresh in your mind.
Avoid discussions with other witnesses or the police before writing a statement. Their accounts could influence your perception of the accident.
Try to Be Objective
While it may not be entirely possible, you should try to maintain an objective point of view. If you want to add information to the statement, try to visualize it. The human brain tends to fill in memory gaps with information, and visualization can help you avoid this.
If you are uncertain about something, don’t invent information that seems to fit logically. Simply leave out any details that you are unsure of.
Share the Specifics
There isn’t a standard length for a car accident witness statement. Your account of the accident can be as long as you need it to be.
Don’t hesitate to add anything you remember, including smells and sounds. Any details you provide can help with the accident investigation.
A high-quality witness statement is well organized. While you may have a lot of information to share, make sure you document it chronologically. If your testimony is disorganized or incoherent, lawyers and insurance companies may question your credibility.
You can start by writing down everything you remember. Then, organize all the details to ensure the statement is clear and readable.
Check Your Spelling
Misspelled words in a witness statement can raise questions about your ability to accurately record events. Spelling and grammatical errors also make the statement hard to read. Make sure you carefully proofread your testimony before you turn it in.
Even if you are 100% sure that you know who is liable for the accident, don’t share this information. You shouldn’t make accusations since you may not have the full picture of the accident. A witness’s job is to share accident details and let others draw conclusions based on the facts.
It’s the job of the insurance companies, lawyers, and police to determine who is at fault. In addition, accusations and assumptions may cause the authorities to question your credibility or bias. A good witness is there only to provide truthful information which will help the authorities to help the true victim of negligence in the event of an accident.
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Contact Us to Learn More about Car Accident Witness Statements
If you still have questions about writing a car accident witness statement or need assistance obtaining one for your personal injury case, call Morris Bart today.
At Morris Bart, we fight for car accident victims to receive the compensation they may be entitled to. Contact our team for a free consultation today.
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