Because the scene of an accident can be chaotic, it may not be the best time to ask questions of witnesses. But, if possible you should get the contact information of everyone who saw the accident so they can be questioned later.
Information from witnesses of a car accident is very important. It can help to understand more about what happened before, during, and after the accident. Witness statements can be a crucial determining factor of who was at fault for the accident. So, it is important to ask car accident witnesses the right questions so they can give the best information about what they saw.
Here are some basic points to cover when questioning any witness about a car accident.
Establish the Witness’s Location in Relation to the Accident
One of the first things you want to know from a witness is where they were in relation to the accident. Everyone at the scene of an accident may not have been in the best position to view what occurred. You need to understand how far away the witness was from the accident and how clear of a view they had as it took place. You could ask them to mark their approximate location on a sketch or diagram of the accident location.
Have the Witness Described What They Saw in Their Own Words
Once you establish the witness’s location to the accident, begin with an open-ended prompt such as, “Can you explain what you saw – in your own words?”.
This invites the witness to explain what he or she observed first without feeling pressured to answer more leading questions.
Get More Detailed Facts about the Accident
After letting the witness establish their own narrative of the accident, you can ask more specific follow-up questions to fill in any gaps.
The questions you ask will vary depending on the kind of accident and what the witness has already said. But, here are some follow-up questions you might want to ask:
- Ask the witness to describe the general position of each vehicle before the accident.
- Ask the witness whether they viewed either driver speeding or driving recklessly.
- Ask the witness if they noticed any traffic signals right before the accident.
- Ask the witness if they observed any moving violations, i.e. illegal U-turn or improper lane change.
- Ask the witness whether they noticed any debris on or damage to the roadway.
- Ask the witness about anything they may have noticed about the other driver after the accident, i.e. intoxication or irate behavior.
Getting Help with Your Car Accident Lawsuit
If you were involved in a car accident, you may be dealing with too much physical pain or emotional trauma to worry about questioning witnesses. That is why you may want to get the help of an experienced personal injury lawyer.
A personal injury lawyer will know more about how to question witnesses and get credible information. The lawyer can help you fight against insurance companies to get the compensation you deserve.
Brock & Stout’s personal injury attorneys have over 20 years of experience helping victims of car accidents. We will work with you to gather all the necessary information to present your case and prove they you deserve compensation. Contact us for a free evaluation and let our family help your family.