Witnesses play a crucial role in any auto accident case. Car accidents often involve more than one party, each claiming that the other one was at fault. Unless fault is evident from the onset, witnesses can be a valuable addition in determining liability for the accident. That’s why it’s often recommended for accident victims to collect contact details of any person who witnessed the crash whenever the situation permits them to.
Knowing the right kinds ofquestions to ask a car accident witness
is critical – it will not only help you obtain and record the correct information, but it also ensures that the witness has an account of things that transpired in the accident. Please note that although you can question your witnesses at the scene of the crash, it is always best to collect their contact details and call them back later once you have the right questions for them, and are away from the chaotic scene. The questioning can be done by you, your lawyer or an insurance claim adjuster.
Here are questions to ask a car accident witness:
Can you walk me through what you saw?
It’s likely that the witness wasn’t paying full attention to the accident as it unfolded, but still, you need to get an accurate recount of what they experienced – in their own words. Find out about what the witness heard and saw during the situation. Try to dig further for specific details – like the vehicles involved, whether any driver used indications or signs to show they tried to avoid the accident (like honking horns or swerving) and even the direction of travel.
You can also ask the witness about the location of the accident – including lanes, intersections, and traffic signals. Find out about the weather and its impacts on the road condition and also get details on the crash itself and moments leading up to it.
Can you recall where you were at the time of the crash?
Ask the witness where s/he stood during the accident; what they recall from the whole thing and what s/he was doing at the moment. Some witnesses will have a better account of the happenings than others – think of a pedestrian who viewed everything in front of their eyes and a driver who saw the accident through their rear mirror. Both of them are witnesses, but the pedestrian will likely have a better account than the driver.
● Ask whether one of the drivers was driving aggressively
● Find out about the traffic signals nearby – like the color of the traffic lights
● Ask if they saw the drivers’ condition after the incident – like did any of them appear intoxicated or injured
Is there anything else I should know about the accident?
It is not uncommon for the witness to catch details that law enforcement and other experts may have missed at the scene of the accident. So, once you are done with the basic questions, it is always advisable to find out what the witness thought stood out of the ordinary.