When seeking compensation for damages or injuries after an accident, one of the key things that can make or break your case is a witness statement. What a witness sees and says after the accident is a crucial factor in determining whether your case is strong enough to proceed to trial, and the amount of damages to be awarded.
If you have been involved in an accident in Houston and are not seriously injured, it is important to take the name, contacts, or details about the accident from second and third party witnesses. When accidents occur, most drivers who are at fault often change the story and may say something different to the police or their insurance company. Without objective 3rd party witness statements, it can be hard to prove that you were the victim and deserve compensation.
Here are the important reasons why you need to get witness statements after an accident, and any professional Houston auto accident attorney can attest to this:
Proving how the accident happened
A Houston auto accident attorney must have the evidence to prove that the other party to the accident was at fault. In most cases, accidents occur outside the range of cameras and therefore no videos of the accident are available as evidence. Witness statements are therefore the next best piece of evidence.
A witness statement provides a detailed account of what the witness saw, specific facts about the accident, and a witness may even be asked to suggest who they think was at fault according to their unbiased judgment. Witness statements from third parties, those not directly involved in the accident or related to either party in the accident, are considered more credible.
Preserving the facts of the accident
When an accident occurs, it is important that witness statements are collected as soon as possible. Most witnesses, just like everyone else, have their own issues to deal with and can easily forget crucial facts about the accident a few days after it occurred. Auto accident cases may take several months or years to solve, and as time goes a witnesses’ memory about the accident may fade away.
However, when a witness statement is taken immediately or a day after the accident’s occurrence, the facts of the accident is preserved. The statement can be used to refresh the witnesses’ mind on what happened, even if the case proceeds to trial several years later.
Deciding whether to settle or proceed to trial
Based on the facts stated in various witness accounts, a Houston auto accident attorney may decide to pursue the case in court or negotiate a settlement. If witness accounts are in your favor, you have a good chance of winning the case and the insurance company will most likely want to settle out of court. If your winning chances are minimal, a professional attorney will advice you on the way forward depending on the specifics of your case.
Next time you get into an accident and are not seriously injured, make an effort to get several 3rd party witness statements. They will come in handy!