One of the most important things you can do at the scene of an accident is to grab eyewitness accounts. If possible, write these statements down so later you know what you remember is correct. Any car wreck lawyer in Newport Beach will stress the importance of having hard evidence for your claim to compensation.
Eyewitness accounts are frequently used in car accident claims for compensation because they can further legitimize accident reports and your own account. A personal injury attorney in Newport Beach will recommend talking to witnesses on the scene of the accident while their memories are fresh. If you’re overwhelmed with all the chaos surrounding the accident you were just involved in, the police officer at the scene will get eyewitness information that you can use later.
In the event you are well enough to ask questions, ask your eyewitnesses the following:
- Can I have your contact information?Your attorney will want to reach back out to witnesses for clarity or to confirm their account at a later time, so you should make sure to get the witness’s name, phone number, and email address.
- Can you tell me what you saw just before and during the accident?Asking open-ended questions will allow the witness to recount as many details as possible without feeling swayed in a certain direction. An unbiased story telling what led up to the accident will be crucial in determining which driver was at fault.
Based on what they say, you can then ask follow up questions, such as questions about the speed, braking, and if they disobeyed any traffic signals.
- Where were you located just before and during the accident?The witness’s location will affect how well they could see what happened, therefore affecting the validity of their story. Factors such as their distance from the accident and if they were inside a vehicle or standing on the sidewalk may affect their account in your claim for compensation.
- What were you doing just before the accident?The best-case scenario for a car accident witness is that they were right behind the accident, giving them a full view of what happened. It’s possible your witness was looking at their phone, engaged in conversation, or otherwise partially distracted.
- Is there anything else you saw that you think is important to share?This is a great closing question for your conversation. While you were consumed with the crash since it was directly affecting you, it’s quite possible something happened that you were completely unaware of. Closing with this question ensures that you aren’t missing out on any vital information that can affect your claim for compensation.