In Arizona, the person at fault for causing the car accident will be responsible for paying the damages. As an injured victim, it is up to you to prove the other driver’s fault. One type of evidence that may be available to you during your insurance claim is eyewitness statements. Eyewitnesses from the scene of the car accident can help you establish what happened in the moments leading up to the collision. Ultimately, witness statements could help you obtain fair compensation for your losses.
Importance of Witness Statements in an Accident Case
During an auto insurance claim, the insurance provider will be looking for evidence that establishes two main things: its policyholder caused the car accident and the claimant suffered damages. The company will assign an insurance claims adjuster to your case to investigate what happened and who is to blame. The adjuster will look through records, documents and evidence to try to determine fault and causation. One place the adjuster may look is at witness statements.
The insurance company’s goal will be to save money by refuting your claim. Eyewitness statements can help you prove what happened. Witness statements provide information about the car accident that only people who saw it would know. Credible witness statements can give you powerful evidence against the driver who caused your collision.
Questions Witnesses May Be Asked
Witnesses can refer to anyone who saw the accident happen or who were some of the first to the scene. They include pedestrians, cyclists, nearby business owners and employees, customers, people who stopped to help, road workers, other drivers involved, and vehicle passengers. If you call the police, the responding officer should help you gather the information of eyewitnesses, including witness statements. Otherwise, it will be up to you to talk to witnesses. While you can ask questions at the scene, it is often best to wait until the confusion of the crash is over.
- Are you related to anyone in the accident?
- Where were you looking before and during the crash?
- How far away were you from the accident?
- What do you remember about the weather and road conditions?
- Which direction were both vehicles heading?
- About how fast were the cars traveling?
- Did you see any brake lights before the collision?
These are questions you or the police may ask eyewitnesses while still at the scene of the auto accident. They are also the types of questions an insurance company or Glendale car accident lawyer may ask to get to the bottom of what happened. Obtaining honest and trustworthy answers to these questions from witnesses could help piece together who caused the crash.
Factors That Could Affect Credibility
Since witness statements are based on memory, perspective and opinion, it is common for insurance companies to call the credibility of the witness into question. The insurer may try to strike a witness statement from the record by undermining its reliability. Certain factors could diminish a witness’s credibility.
- Having a close or familial relationship to either driver
- Being personally involved in the accident
- Being financially invested in the outcome of the case
- Barely seeing the accident or seeing only part of it
- Being distracted by something else at the time
- Being under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Relying on hearsay from other witnesses
- Having a reputation for dishonesty or forgetfulness
Always take down the names and contact numbers of eyewitnesses while still at the scene of a car accident in Arizona. Having unbiased witnesses who were not connected to those involved in the car accident is the best-case scenario. If you have strong witnesses with credible accounts of what happened, what they say could be invaluable to the success of your claim. Statements from sound eyewitnesses could prove to the insurance company that its policyholder was negligent and that you deserve financial compensation.