Car accidents happen every day, and many people are involved. It’s important to get all the facts of what happened from witnesses before making any decisions about who is at fault or how much you should be compensated for your injuries.
Many times, determining who is at fault in a car accident is pretty straightforward, but the times that aren’t are the ones that can cause the most trouble.
One thing many people do not know is that the responding officer’s job is simply to write a report, they are not in charge of determining who is at fault in the car accident.
A police officer will simply write a report detailing the statements given by the parties involved.
It is then up to both drivers’ car insurance agents to determine who is at fault in the car accident.
As a St. Louis car accident lawyer, I can not tell you how many times our client’s insurance agent simply decided no one is at fault.
It is the easiest solution for them and requires much less work than fighting with the guilty party’s insurance agent to recover damages.
Other than video footage, an eyewitness’s statement is the best way to provide proof that you were not at fault.
To help you with this task, we have compiled a list of five questions to ask each witness that was present during the accident:
What did you see? Where were you located? Did you witness the accident from start to finish?
First, you need to simply ask the witness to share, in their own words, what they saw. Be sure to ask them what they saw first before you share your own account of events.
Their first recollection of the event will be their most accurate.
Once they have answered, you will likely have a good idea as to whether or not their story is similar to what you remember from the accident.
Understanding where the witness was located, the distance in relation to the accident, and whether or not they were blocked from seeing the accident can help you get a better idea of what may have taken place.
If they were located in an area (or at a distance) where it is safe to assume they were close enough to have a good understanding of the events that took place, it is safe to assume they are a reliable witness.
Another important question to ask car accident witnesses is how much of the accident they actually saw.
Asking this question may get them to take more time to reflect on what they saw, making them more likely to remember more of the events that took place.
If they did not see everything, ask if their view was blocked by other cars or objects in some way.
If it is possible there were any obstructions during part of the accident, this could change what happened and how you should go about moving forward with your claim.
There is a good chance their answer to this question may be no, but if there is another individual in the area who also witnessed the automobile accident, their version of the story may strengthen your case.
Additionally, there is always strength in numbers when it comes to the number of people who are confirming your side of the story.
This question is simply to make sure they have given their statement to the office writing the car accident police report.
In some cases, a witness may approach the scene to make sure everyone is safe. After that, they may leave the scene because they do not think about the importance of speaking with a police officer.
If they have not yet spoken with an office, make sure you ask them to do so.
The police officer at the scene of the accident is likely to get their story first. If you are able, try and get a hold of that statement so you can use it in court if need be.
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact the personal injury attorneys at Ortwerth Law to discuss your car accident case.
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