If you witnessed a car accident, either as a passenger or as a bystander, then what you saw will be enormously important in the upcoming fight over liability. In some cases, liability for a car accident is obvious—one car ran a red light and slammed into the side of another. In other cases, however, liability is often contested, with each driver pointing the finger at the other.
As a witness, you could testify at a trial or in a deposition and tell everyone what you observed. Even though most automobile wrecks settle, chances are you will have to tell your story to at least an insurance company, so it is key that you get your story straight.
Accidents happen very quickly, and sometimes they are just a blur. As best you can, you should record what you saw while the memory is still fresh in your mind. If you are at the scene of an accident and hurt, you obviously need medical treatment so this might not be your top priority. However, once you are stabilized and have a free moment, you should jot down a few notes about what you saw. Or better yet, get our your phone & do a quick voice recording so you can get it all documented while it’s fresh instead of waiting to write it down later. If you are at the scene of the crash, send a text message to yourself or type out notes in an email you send to yourself. For example, “white car jumped into the intersection and hit blue car” is sufficient.
If you were a passenger in a vehicle involved in a crash, you will want to be more detailed in your description:
In addition to what you saw, you should write down anything that a driver says after the accident. Sometimes, drivers admit fault or apologize for the accident. This information can be useful later when determining fault.
Yes. An officer should come to the scene of the accident to talk to those involved. As a witness, you should speak to the officer. Make sure they have your name and contact information, which should appear in the police report. The people who were injured in the accident will get a copy, and they might reach out to you.
Yes. All drivers involved in the accident need to know your identity in case their insurance company wants to speak to you. Insurers sometimes fight over liability, and your testimony could prove critical. Provide a phone number or email address that they can reach you at. Anyone too injured at the scene will get your identity probably from the police report.
You don’t need a lawyer if you have suffered no meaningful injuries. If the opposite is true, then a lawyer will help you seek compensation from the driver who is at fault. This also means that you must complete the steps that need to be taken by the victims of car accidents. First, get information from every driver involved in the collision, including:
Second, hire a personal injury attorney who can help maximize your compensation. And third, make a claim to get your medical bills paid for and to receive compensation for any lost wages. The driver who is at fault for the crash should compensate you.
A deposition involves meeting with lawyers in a conference room and answering questions under oath and on record. A deposition is like testifying at a trial, except you aren’t in court. Also, there is probably no judge present. Depositions are designed to let lawyers figure out what you know about the accident. They can sometimes feel like a fishing expedition with lawyers asking all kinds of obscure questions.
Depositions are often grueling and can last all day. Remember to answer every question honestly and to ask for the lawyer to clarify any question so that you understand it. Also take breaks if you need one so you can recharge.
Any injured motorist or bystander who witnessed a car accident must also look out for their own best interests. At Ladah Law Firm, we have helped many people injured in Las Vegas car accidents obtain badly needed compensation.
To speak with one of our lawyers today, please call 702-252-0055.