Many people who have been involved in a car collision as themselves (and their lawyers) this question: “How important are witness statements, and are they really the juggernaut behind your car crash claim?”
In short, yes. We would love to take this time to spell out the importance of witness statements when it comes to handling a personal injury or property damage claim in Maryland, where nearly 400,000 motorists are involved in motor vehicle collisions every year.
When you bring a personal injury case, it’s up to you to prove the other side is at fault. You will need to gather evidence to show that the other party caused your injuries. How you go about doing this depends on the specific circumstances of the case. You might build your case using video evidence, photographs, an expert reconstruction of the scene or an admission from the other side.
One of the most powerful ways to build you case is by using witnesses. A witness is a person who saw, heard or otherwise experienced some aspect of the case. Even if you understand how important witnesses are, it’s crucial to use them effectively to present a strong case. Here are some tips for dealing with witnesses in your Baltimore personal injury case.
The first step to gathering high-quality witnesses in your auto accident case is finding them. If you or a friend or family member can, you may want to approach witnesses at the scene of the collision to ask for their contact information. If the witnesses are willing to talk, you can ask them to tell you what they saw. Make quick notes of these conversations as soon as you can, so that you have a written record of your interaction with witnesses on the scene.
You can also find witnesses by returning to the scene of the car crash. There might be neighbors or other locals that saw an unsafe condition in the area days or weeks before your injury. Likewise, these people may have seen the other side act improperly on prior occasions. Also, they might also be able to point you to other individuals who spoke about seeing you get injured in your auto accident. If you’re able to get any information about a witness like their name, you can look in online directories or on social medical for full contact information.
How To Get Witness Statements After a Car Collision?
While Maryland laws do not oblige you to speak to witnesses or write down their contact information, it is highly advised that you do get a written statement from each and every witness at the scene of a car crash, get their contact information, and, ideally, convince them to testify in court.
Our best car accident attorneys in Baltimore explain that witness accounts usually make a huge difference when insurance companies are reviewing car crashes, trucking accidents, Uber and Lyft accidents and other motor vehicle accidents in Baltimore.
When approaching a witness, write down their name, address and contact information, and either
write down what they saw and/or heard or record their statements using your phone or recording device. If a witness believes that the other motorist was at-fault, make sure they indicate it clearly in their statement and provide their reasoning.
The best thing you can do after an accident is to seek qualified medical attention, get all the information and evidence you can, and talk to an attorney immediately. The reality is, the insurance adjuster works for the insurance company. They want to pay you as little as possible. Our experienced auto accident injury attorneys, however, works for you and is financially incentivized to get you the highest possible compensation for your injuries.
While it is not necessarily guaranteed that the insurance companies will look at the car accident from the perspective of that witness, they will most likely no longer question the credibility of your side of the story (given that it is identical to that of the witness).
It is advised to have the witnesses sign and date every page of their written accident witness statement. Do not forget to write down their phone number (you may need them to speak with the insurance company as well).
Why Witness Statements Are Essential for Your Claim.
Witness statements (the more, the better, as long as they are perfectly in line with your side of the story) are an essential part of your car collision claim as they can:
- Support your claims of innocence (their testimony can either reduce or completely eliminate doubts that you were even partially responsible for causing the car crash. This is vital, because many at-fault motorists in Baltimore and elsewhere in Maryland usually attempt to argue that the other driver, the victim, was somewhere at-fault for the crash);
- Support your claims of the other driver’s fault (whether the other motorist was partially or fully responsible for the car collision, witnesses can be invaluable to help the insurance establish liability);
- Support your claims of injury (you may persuade the insurance about the scope and extent of your injuries, pain and suffering through witness statements, which can detail your actions and behavior at the scene of the car collision);
- Discredit the other driver’s injury (similarity, witness statements can be vital to disprove the other driver’s claims of a bodily injury. If the at-fault driver is lying that he/she was injured as a result of the crash, too – and may be even wearing a fake plaster cast – witnesses can discredit his/her injuries by saying that he/she was walking or even running around the scene of the accident).
How To Write a Witness Statement.
To write a car accident witness statement, you should write a narrative of what happened before, during and after the accident. Talk about what you saw, heard and observed in other ways. To be as helpful as possible, it’s essential to include the movements of each vehicle.
It’s essential to include the movements of each vehicle. As you write include facts that may be important. Don’t worry if you think a detail might not matter; just write down everything you observed. Just remember what should be in a witness statement is the who, when, why, what and how of the car accident.
If used properly by an experienced Baltimore car accident lawyer, witness accounts can drive your personal injury claim toward success. Here at the Law Offices of Larry B. Litt, our attorneys know how to obtain effective witness statements and use them in a way that will maximize the monetary value of your claim. Call our office at 443-844-1528 to get a free consultation. We are available to help you, day or night.