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The Value of Witness Statements to Your Auto Accident Claim

Colorado personal injury attorney R. Mack Babcock can help guide you through every step of your car crash case

When you have been involved in a serious car accident, every piece of information you can gather to support your injury claim is valuable. A third party, independent and unbiased witness that has no financial or personal interest in your case can make or break the odds of success in your claim. 

In order to win your case, you must prove that your injuries were caused by negligent acts of the party at fault.  Frequently, the only witnesses to a car accident may be the parties involved (plaintiff and defendant).  Each person will have their own particular version of how the accident occurred, and most likely they will each blame the other party.

In this case, it is the word of one driver against the word of another. This is when the value of a third party witness is crucial.

When the accident occurs, how do you find a witness?

The most important thing to take care of immediately following an accident is your injuries.  Do not limp in pain over to the nearest witness!  Make certain your injuries are addressed before you concern yourself with a witness.  Many times people will approach an accident victim to say they saw what happened.

Never try to "convince" the witness that you were not at fault.  Ask them politely if they would take a few minutes to write their contact information and a brief statement about what they witnessed.  If they seem to be in a hurry, ask if you could at least get their contact information and follow up with them later.

What constitutes a "credible" witness?

There are several questions to ask and considerations to keep in mind when determining if your witness is credible.  Having a non-credible witness can hurt your case more than having no witness at all. Ask the following questions to find out if a witness is credible:

  • Did the witness actually see the accident, or did they just hear it?
  • Was the witness distracted by a child, pet or anything else that may have taken their attention away from the accident?
  • Did the witness observe the accident from start to finish?
  • Was the witness driving or were they a pedestrian that saw what occurred?
  • How is the witness's character?  Do they seem like an honest individual? 
  • Does the witness have good vision and hearing?  How is their memory as far as you know?

Who all can be considered an "eyewitness"?

Essentially, anyone who witnessed the accident first-hand can be considered an eyewitness. This includes:

  • Pedestrians and passersby
  • Adjacent business owners
  • Utility and road workers
  • Other drivers who were driving nearby when the accident occurred

How effective are witness statements?

The insurance company's claims adjuster will read each witness statement you provide. They are ALWAYS interested in witness statements. In addition to their statement and version of events, the adjuster will typically contact each witness and inquire about the following items:

  • Is the witness related to you or the other driver?
  • Has the witness known you prior to the accident?
  • Does the witness have any personal or financial interest in the claim?

Some witness statements are considered "hearsay" and may not be admissible in court in the event that a car accident case goes to trial. Generally, if a witness statement is used in court, the witness must be willing to show up in person and give their testimony of what they saw. This is why it is important to gather as many credible witnesses as possible.

Been in a serious car crash?  Discuss the details of your claim with a Colorado auto accident attorney at The Babcock Law Firm today. No matter where you are in the state of Colorado, if your case falls within our practice area and we feel our representation can benefit you, an attorney will conduct an in-depth consultation at no charge. We are here to help you secure a successful outcome. Contact us today!

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Disclaimer

While the Babcock Law Firm tirelessly works to obtain successful outcomes for its clients, prior positive outcomes are no guarantee of future success. Indicating prior positive results is in no way intended to guarantee future results.

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