How to Collect A Witnesses Testimony From a Motor Vehicle Accident
If you have been in a car accident in Maryland and have suffered injuries, one of the most important things you need to do is to prove that the accident was not your fault. If you cannot prove that the accident was someone else’s fault – and blame is placed on you instead – you may be prevented from recovering financial compensation to pay for your injuries and losses.
Testimony from eyewitnesses is one of the most valuable types of evidence that you can collect after a car accident. The following provides an overview of why witness evidence is important, the types of witness evidence that you should collect, how to approach the collection of evidence from car accident witnesses, and how a car accident lawyer can help.
Why Car Accident Witnesses Matter
When it comes to providing evidence in a car accident claim or lawsuit, witnesses are one of the most valuable sources. This is because witnesses may provide unbiased accounts or data concerning exactly what happened, with no incentive to manipulate details or tell lies. When you are filing a claim with a car insurance company or pursuing a lawsuit, witnesses can testify on your behalf, helping to demonstrate that the accident would not have occurred but for the fault of the other driver.
Who Makes a Good Witness?
It is important to note that not all witnesses have equal value. Witnesses who may still give testimony on your behalf, but may not be as convincing as others, include those who:
- Have a stake in your claim.
- Know you personally.
- Have a history of criminal convictions.
- Suffer from hearing, eyesight, or memory complications.
- Did not actually see the accident from start to finish.
On the other hand, witnesses who may be much more credible include those who:
- Do not know either you or the other party.
- Witnessed the entirety of the accident.
- Were not distracted at the time the accident occurred.
- Are in good physical health (i.e., do not have memory problems, eyesight problems, or hearing problems).
Can Passengers in My Vehicle Be Considered Witnesses?
A common question that many people who have recently been involved in a car accident have is whether their own passengers at the time of an accident can provide witness testimony. While the answer is definitely yes – investigators will absolutely want to talk to any passengers who were present at the time of the accident, including the other driver’s passengers – you should know that your own passengers will not carry the same clout as independent witnesses. The insurance company or jury may believe that a passenger is trying to protect your best interests, and therefore may not take his or her accounts as seriously as they would take an independent third-party’s account.
What Types of Car Accident Evidence Can Witnesses Provide?
Witnesses can provide more than just testimony evidence to help you in a car accident claim. While witness testimony can be helpful, witnesses may have also captured photo evidence of what happened, or even a video recording of what happened. If a witness possesses either of these two types of evidence, then he or she may provide an important asset in your car accident claim.
The Process of Collecting Evidence from Car Accident Witnesses
Now that you understand the importance of car accident evidence provided by witnesses, it is essential that you understand how to collect evidence from witnesses. The easiest and best thing you can do is to immediately get the names and contact information of anyone who is at the scene and witnessed the accident.
- Gather Contact Information
In some cases, gathering contact information from a witness at the time of your crash is not possible. This is especially true in the event that you are injured so badly that you need immediate medical attention, are unconscious, or are otherwise incapacitated.
If you are not able to collect witnesses’ information at the time of the accident, you should contact an attorney as soon as possible. Your attorney can use police reports from the accident to track down any potential witnesses who gave testimony to the police. According to the Maryland State Police, you can obtain a copy of your accident report in person or by mail for a small fee. In the event you have any photographic or video evidence from the accident scene, you may also be able to use this to identify witnesses and track them down.
- Record Witnesses’ Stories
The second thing that you need to do after you have identified the witnesses is record their stories. The sooner you do this, the fresher the incidents will be in the witnesses’ minds, and therefore the more accurate their testimonies may be. Documenting a witness’s story is very important. During documentation, use reliable means, such as a video or voice recorder.
- Present Your Evidence to Your Attorney
After you have documented everything you can about the witnesses and their accounts of what happened, you need to get this evidence to your attorney as soon as possible. Your attorney can then use this evidence to help establish the other driver’s fault, and to advocate for a fair settlement amount. If you are missing essential evidence, your attorney can quickly follow up with witnesses to make sure you have a well-developed claim. The statute of limitations in Maryland is three years from the date of your accident, according to the Code of Maryland Section 5-101, so you need to act quickly.
Contact a Maryland Car Accident Lawyer Today
Gathering witness evidence on your own after a car accident can be an overwhelming and exhausting process, especially if you are recovering from serious injuries and dealing with other after-accident details. Luckily, you do not have to handle the collection of evidence on your own. An experienced Maryland car accident attorney can help you quickly and efficiently gather, organize, and present evidence to the car insurance company.
At Jimeno & Gray, P.A., we understand what you are going through is traumatic, and we want to help. For legal services you can count on, contact us online today, or call us as soon as possible to get started.