Car accident cases are rarely as simple as they seem. Even if you feel that it is a clear and obvious case that another driver was at-fault for your accident, the burden of proof can weigh heavily on an individual, especially without the help of an experienced car accident attorney. An excellent way to strengthen your car accident case is with the help of one or multiple corroborating witnesses.
So, how important is having a witness after a car accident?
Following your accident, having a reliable witness to back up your claims for how the accident occurred, to provide evidence the other driver was at-fault can be very helpful in your case. It makes sense that those who are involved in the accident, the defendants and plaintiffs, will want to place the blame on the other driver. However, a witness tends to be a neutral third-party, a bystander who has no previous relation with the drivers, therefore has no reason to manipulate the narrative to fault one driver over another. A witness statement supporting your case can be powerful ammunition in your case, something that will not be taken lightly by most jurors. They know these witnesses have nothing to win or lose based on the outcome of your claim, which helps to make them believable parties in your case.
Who can serve as a witness in my car accident case?
Most often, a witness in a car accident will be someone who was either driving alongside the vehicles when they collided, or were on foot and in eyeshot of the accident when it occurred. This leaves the door open to many people serving as a witness in your case including individuals in parking lots, those exiting or entering businesses nearby, road workers, someone walking their dog, and even passengers present in one of the vehicles involved in the accident. Additionally, individuals who pull off the road to offer assistance after witnessing the accident may be asked for a statement.
How do I get a witness to help me in my car accident case?
Your priority following a car accident should always be your health and safety, as well as the health and safety of anyone else involved in the car accident. If you feel that you and everyone else involved in your car accident are in stable condition and moved out of harm’s way, the quest for a witness should begin. Survey the area, do you see anyone around who may have witnessed your accident? This can be anyone who pulled off the road, anyone standing near the scene, and those in parked cars around you.
If another driver was the reason for your car accident, approach your potential witness and ask the witness if they saw the accident the same way that you did. A witness who seems unsure, or believes the other party was not at-fault will not serve as a good witness on your behalf. When you approach a potential witness make sure to identify yourself and to try to be as collected with your thoughts as possible. Emotions can be high following an accident, you may have a powerful surge of adrenaline, making it difficult to calmly communicate. Take a deep breath and focus on being polite and patient with your potential witness, as you are trying to ask for their help in your case, when they are not obligated to provide it.
If the witness supports your version of events surrounding the car accident and is willing to provide a witness statement, you will want to collect their personal information. This information should include their full name, their address, phone number, email address, and any other information that may be relevant to your case, such as where they were located when the accident occurred and what they claim to have seen. Additionally, you can record a statement from the witness from your smartphone if they agree to this. While having a recorded or written statement may help your witness to recall the series of events they witnessed in your accident, it is not necessary to get an official statement from them at this time. Once you have all of their contact information let them know how much their time means to you and let them know you plan to reach out to them in the near future.
How does a car accident attorney help me provide powerful statements from my witnesses?
Taking a credible witness and having them prepare a statement that is suitable for your case requires experience and knowledge for how these cases go. When you work with Attorney Caruthers, you have over 30 years of experience on your side. Attorney Caruthers will help you build your case by reaching out to each witness you have to gather information from them. These witnesses will be asked to share their account of the accident, including what happened, what they saw, and any details they noticed that are relevant to your case. Any information deemed helpful will be recorded in order to preserve it for the future.
These recorded statements will not be taken under oath, so in a legal proceeding, settlement, or lawsuit this alone may not be enough evidence from your witness. All information that supports your case is worth gathering as it may play into your case down the road. A formal deposition, which records the witness’s statement under oath, can be more helpful in a later legal proceeding. However, legally your attorney will not be able to share this statement with you without also sharing it with the defense attorney. For this reason, your attorney may not want to share the deposition of a witness with you until your case goes to trial. You can rest easy though knowing your attorney will never submit a deposition that has the potential to hurt your case or contradict your account of events.
Even once your attorney has taken a formal deposition from your witness, you may wonder, how effective can this statement really be? There are many factors that go into determining the effectiveness of a witness statement. The defense attorney may work hard to find information that discredits your witness, attacking their character, position, or interest in helping make your case. If there are any inconsistencies between what your witness says in the deposition, then in their original statement, the defense will use this to invalidate their account of events. Additionally, if there are other witnesses who have different opinions on how the events played out, or your witness was a distance away from the accident when it occurred, this can be used as ammunition against their credibility, lowering the effectiveness of your witnesses testimony.
Do witnesses have to speak with the insurance company?
Before a car accident case will ever go to trial, witness statements may be given to an insurance company’s adjusters. The insurance adjusters will reach out to your witnesses and ask each of them to give a statement that is recorded, while they are questioned about the accident. Most often these questions will be used to determine if the witness has any prior relationship with you before the crash, as well as if they stand to gain anything financial or otherwise by you winning the case. If your car accident case in Houston is not able to be settled by negotiation with the insurance company and is sent to trial, witness statements given to insurance companies may not be helpful in your case. This is because legally, a witness’s statement is deemed hearsay and might not be admissible in court. Additionally, the witness must appear in-person to your court case in order to testify. With all of this said, having witnesses who support your version of events surrounding your accident can be helpful when dealing with an insurance company. Agreeable witnesses can get an insurance adjuster to take your claim more seriously and be more open to negotiating a fair settlement.
Can camera footage be used as a non-human witness in my case?
Video footage recorded of your car accident can be one of the single most important pieces of evidence in your car accident case. Of course, you will need the evidence to be clear and have a good vantage point in order to be useful for supporting your claims that you are not at-fault. Your attorney may check for surveillance footage from nearby businesses, homeowners, and other potential entities. Many business owners have security systems that keep a continued feed of the areas located in front of their business. In some cases, this may include the street view of where your accident took place.
Choose The Law Office of Beverly R. Caruthers
When you have been injured in a car accident, the last thing you need to worry about is coming up with the finances to talk to an attorney about your case. At the Law Office of Beverly R. Caruthers, our team understands how stressful and traumatic car accidents can be for those who have suffered injuries, this is why we offer no cast car accident evaluations in Houston and its surrounding communities. Our team is dedicated to helping you get the medical treatment you deserve in order to heal properly and get back to things that matter most in your life. If you or someone you love has been injured in a car accident due to the reckless or negligent behaviors of another driver, reach out to us today to find out how we can help you maximize your compensation while you recover from your injuries.
Working with an experienced car accident attorney can protect you from insurance companies that actively work against victims in order to minimize their claims of injury for compensation. Insurance companies will begin to work against you from the first conversation they have, they have teams of people looking for ways to discredit your account of the accident and to collect information against you that may help them to lower your credibility and say the injuries you have were from before the accident.
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In Houston, we have a large population of Spanish-speaking individuals. Unfortunately, whenever a Spanish-speaking individual is injured in a car accident they are less likely to seek justice in their case due to language barriers and other social difficulties. The language you speak should not affect your ability to recover compensation for the financial devastation and physical trauma you endured in your accident. At the Law Office of Beverly R. Caruthers, our team refuses to let a language barrier affect your right to justice and compensation. If you or someone you love has been injured in an accident and is in need of Spanish-speaking legal advice, our team is here for you. We make it simple for those who have been injured in car accidents to navigate the legal system in order to get the results they need to continue on in their lives. Schedule your no-obligation car accident consultation with Attorney Caruthers today. Our team will work with you every step of the way to ensure your needs are being met and that you are getting the treatment you deserve in your car accident case. Don’t hesitate, the sooner you call the more our team can do to help you!
Best Car Accident Attorney in Houston TX
If you have been injured, experienced loss of income, or are unable to work because of a car accident, you can benefit from the services of a Houston car accident expert in your personal injury case. Whether you missed work due to an injury or due to not having access to a vehicle, Attorney Beverly R. Caruthers can help you! Our team works hard to bring the most efficient and practical solutions to your car accident case. Beverly R. Caruthers proudly serves and defends the Greater Houston area including but not limited to Baytown, Conroe, Crosby, Humble, Huntsville, Lake Jackson, Missouri City, Pasadena, Spring, Tomball. Our legal team is bilingual and offers Spanish speaking legal counsel for all of our clients. If you need legal representation following an incident don’t hesitate to contact Beverly R. Caruthers Law Office!