In What Ways Can a Witness Play a Part in A Car Accident Case?
Jan. 21, 2022
The Impact of Witnesses in Car Accident Cases
When a person is involved in a car accident it can be quite a traumatic experience. At the Law Offices of Spencer M. Fein, P.C., we have handled numerous automobile accidents and have first-hand knowledge of the moments right after a car accident.
The first thing to do after an accident is to assess your injuries and make sure you are safe. After you have done that, there are different things you can do to make sure you protect your claim. It is advisable to take photos of not only your vehicle’s damage but also the damage to the other vehicles involved. It is also smart to take some photos of the scene of the accident. It is also advisable to have a police report filled out so you can have documentation off all the parties involved and this will also allow you to have documentation of how the accident occurred while it is fresh in your mind. We also strongly urge you to speak to any witnesses to hear what they observed. The aftermath of an accident is always traumatic so often people fail to give any thought to the bystanders who witnessed the accident. This could be a fatal flaw in one’s case.
Just as you want to document how the accident was caused while it is fresh in your mind, similarly you want to hear from a witness while the accident is fresh in their mind. If the witness is favorable to your matter you also would want their account of the story on the police report. You want to also make sure that any other person responsible for the accident does not try to convince a witness into believing their version of the accident. If the police do not come to the scene of the accident or a favorable witness leaves the scene prior to the police officer’s arrival, we strongly advise obtaining a witness statement as soon as possible. This is one of the reasons it is important to contact a car accident attorney immediately after your accident.
If the accident occurred in the State of New York, the Law Offices of Spencer M. Fein are here to help.
A Personal Story of How a Witness Can Help Your Accident Case
Last year a family member was driving westbound of Route 35 in Westchester County, N.Y. This family member was coming upon an intersection. The light was green so this individual proceeded through the light when a vehicle traveling northbound on the other road at the intersection ran a red light and smashed into the driver’s side of my family member’s vehicle. Fortunately this family member did not sustain major injuries, but at the scene this individual did have pain to their right knee which had come into contact with the dashboard at contact.
As the family member had many previous discussions with me about what to do after one is involved in a car accident, he knew just what to do. Although it was painful for him to walk at the time, he took photos of the vehicle and called the police to the scene. While he was waiting for the police he noticed a woman in the car that was traveling behind him stopped to make sure everyone was o.k. My family member spoke to this woman and she corroborated that this family member did indeed have a green light and the other vehicle ran a red light. Unfortunately, this woman was on route to pick her child up from daycare so she was unable to wait for the police to come to the scene. Low and behold when the police came to the scene, the driver of the other vehicle claimed he had a green light and that my family member ran a red light. Thus, the police officer had no choice but to put both driver’s statements on how the accident occurred. There would now be conflicting accounts of the accident. Fortunately, this family member had remembered our previous discussions and before the witness left the scene he obtained her phone number and address.
As my family member’s knee seemed to be getting worse he went to the hospital by ambulance. Luckily the E.R. did not find any major structural damage, but after follow up treatment with an orthopedist my family member was diagnosed with a torn meniscus and needed to have a surgery. When he first called me up to handle this matter for him, as his attorney he asked me if the police report was going to be an issue as there are conflicting stories on who actually had the right of way. I asked if he knew of any witnesses? He told me he actually did have the phone number and address of a woman that witnessed the accident. As his attorneys, the Law Offices of Spencer M. Fein, P.C., immediately contacted this woman. She happened to live in Ossining, NY which is a very close proximity so I was immediately able to obtain a witness statement that corroborated that my family member did indeed have a green light and the offending vehicle ran a red light.
During our first conversation with the adjuster from the offending vehicle’s insurance carrier it was brought up that according to their insured my family member was at fault for the accident. I was immediately able to combat such accusation and able to provide this adjuster with the witness statement. The adjuster went back to their insured and the individual quickly waivered on his story. The adjuster called me back and all, but admitted that their insured would not make a credible witness. Even with the police report stating both sides of the story, the offending vehicle’s insurance company took 100 percent liability. It was all because my family member was smart enough to take the witnesses information and we were able to get a witness statement so quickly.
If you have a similar story feel free to contact the Law Offices of Spencer M. Fein, P.C., where we continually represent accident victims from our Briarcliff Manor location.
Why It Is Vital to Speak to Witnesses After a Car Accident
In no way are we advising you to try to attempt to falsely convince a witness into your side of the story, but speaking to a witness is simply to collect information. In most circumstances this witness is a reliable source of information and they may have seen things you did not notice. They may also be able to fill in some facts that you may not remember. Directly after an accident can be a traumatic time, especially if you are injured. This leads to many people forgetting minor details that sometimes make or break your claim. A witness may be able to fill in these details and this can be very helpful in a successful claim. If you or someone you know has been injured in a car accident, we strongly urge you to speak with a personal injury attorney in your area.
Here, at the Law Offices of Spencer M. Fein., P.C. we are personal injury attorneys that help those injured in car accidents throughout New York State, Westchester County, the towns of Ossining, Briarcliff Manor, White Plains and Mt Kisco.
Feel free to contact our office at any time to set up a free consultation.