Car accidents can be a terrifying experience.
The aftermath of an accident is always difficult to deal with, but little thought is usually given to the bystanders who have witnessed the automobile accident.
As car accident attorneys, who have seen our fair share of automobile accidents, we have first-hand knowledge of the dangers still present even after a car accident.
Because of this, the first thing that should be on your mind after you are involved in a car accident is to assess your injuries and get to safety as quickly as possible.
After that, there are a handful of things we advise you to do to protect yourself legally like take photos, document the scene, write down what you remember while it is still fresh in your mind, and several other important steps to take after your car accident.
Regardless of whom you think is at fault, we strongly advise you speak with witnesses to hear their side of the story.
In some cases, the other person involved in the car accident, who may be the person responsible for the accident, may “charm” witnesses into believing his or her story.
Because of this, we strongly advise hearing car accident witness statements as soon as possible.
The following story is a true one experienced by a friend of mine involved in a car accident.
For the sake of privacy, and to make it easier to differentiate between the two drivers, we are going to call him “Jake”.
Several years ago, Jake was driving in South St. Louis near an intersection. As he began to cross the intersection, the light turned yellow.
As he was about to make his way through, a truck traveling the opposite direction attempted to speed up and make a left turn; crossing paths with Jake’s vehicle.
Unfortunately, Jake was unable to avoid colliding with the other man’s vehicle and hit the rear end of his truck at speeds around 40 miles per hour.
Jake’s airbags were deployed (and actually caught fire) and his car was totaled. He was shaken up but other than a headache, he thankfully had no other serious injuries.
The other driver was seemingly fine and, by the time Jake was able to get out of his vehicle and make his way to safety, the other passenger had already been speaking with a man standing outside a building around 100 yards away.
When first responders arrived and began making their car accident police report, the other driver and the “witness” quickly approached the police officer and told them his light turned from a blinking yellow arrow to a green arrow, so he had the right of way, thus Jake had to have ran a red light.
Jake pleaded his case, but since he was outnumbered and defending himself against a witness with nothing to gain, he was unsure how he would be able to convince the office or insurance agents he was not at fault.
With little help from his car insurance provider, Jake decided to investigate the scene on his own.
In doing so, he was able to provide indisputable proof that the accident could not have been his fault.
While doing some reconnaissance, Jake noticed that that particular intersection’s lights were on a timer and the only time the arrow turns green is immediately after it is red. It then switches to a blinking yellow arrow.
In other words, there was no possible way the arrow could have gone from yellow to green. The moral of the story is the other driver was able to implant the idea in the witness’s head that he was not at fault after just a few minutes of talking.
It is also important to point out that Jake’s insurance provider provided little to no assistance in proving his innocence.
The witness was certainly not intentionally lying to police or trying to cover for the other man, but he had seen an accident, and since he was standing at a distance too far to reliably say what had happened, he was influenced by the first story he heard and believed it must have been true.
Now, we want to make it clear that we in no way condone or advise you to attempt to influence a witness into falsely corroborating your claims.
Speaking to car accident witnesses should simply be to collect information.
In most cases, someone who claims to have witnessed a car accident is a reliable source of information and they may have seen things you did or may have forgotten about due to the chaos after the accident.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident, we strongly advise you to speak with a local personal injury attorney.
Here at Ortwerth Law, we are personal injury attorneys who help car accident victims in St. Louis, Missouri and the surrounding areas get the compensation they deserve.
Contact our offices to set up a free car accident consultation.
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