When establishing a failure in a car accident, witnesses often play an important role in confirming the applicant’s collision report. However, a witness report is only possible if the contact information is collected on the spot and the right questions are asked – often after the injured person has received adequate medical care and has had a chance to calm his nerves. Every accident is different, and in many cases a victim is too injured to question witnesses on the spot. This is why it is so important to work with a personal injury attorney. A skilled auto accident attorney can interview witnesses to get a clear picture of what they believe led to the accident.
The top questions to ask a car accident witness
There are a few specific questions that you should ask any car accident witness:
1. Can I have your contact information?
This is the first and foremost question to be asked as there is a good chance that the witness will need to be contacted to further explain what he saw at the scene of the accident. Often times, a car accident attorney or the insurance company will want to endorse the witness report of the accident.
2. Can you tell me what you saw just before and during the accident?
This is a good open ended question that will allow the witness to provide as much detail as possible about what led to the accident. For example, if the guilty driver gave a red light before colliding with your vehicle, they might be saying so. This is an opportunity to have the witness explain how he saw the accident without key questions.
Ask additional questions to clarify certain relevant details. Some good examples are:
• Did both drivers seem to be accelerating?
• Did you see a vehicle go off the track?
• Have you seen that a vehicle violates a traffic law?
• Did it seem like one of the drivers hit the brakes shortly before the accident?
• Did any of the vehicles appear to be driving erratically?
3. Where were you shortly before and during the accident?
The location of a witness affects how well they can see the accident. Factors such as the distance from the scene, as well as being in a vehicle or on the street as a pedestrian, determine what they might have seen. Ideally, there will be more than one witness, and each of them was in a different location so that the scene can be recreated from multiple angles.
Other factors to ask about are:
• How clearly did the witness understand the accident? Did the witness have something that obstructed his view, like a mailbox or even a building?
• What was the weather like at the time of the accident? If it was raining or a blizzard it could be a lot harder to see what had happened.
• How was the light? Was it dark, dusk, dawn, or daylight? Was the sun in your eyes at the time of the accident?
4. What did you do shortly before the accident?
If you are lucky, the witness will stand next to the road or in a car directly behind you and have his full attention on the scene during the accident. In reality, some witnesses may have been at least partially distracted or looking at something else before their attention was drawn to the collision. It is important to understand what the witness did.
5. Is there anything else you’ve seen that you think is important to share?
It is entirely possible that the witness will have additional information available at the end of the interview. Maybe something you didn’t think of to ask her. Closing with an open question is the best way to ensure you haven’t missed any important information from the witness that may be relevant to your accident.
Seek the help of a car accident attorney
If you or a loved one has been injured as a result of someone else’s negligence, contact a personal injury attorney to discuss your legal rights. Let a skilled auto accident attorney fight for the full compensation you deserve. It is not uncommon for the insurance company to receive a severance payment five to ten times greater with the help of a lawyer. Call the Personal Injury Attorneys at Tario & Associates, PS in Bellingham, WA for a FREE consultation! We have represented residents of Whatcom Counties, Skagit Counties, Island Counties, and Snohomish Counties since 1979. You pay nothing in advance and no legal fees unless we claim damages for you!