The Importance of Gathering Witness Information Post-Accident
If you’ve been involved in a car wreck, struck by a tractor-trailer, or had a slip and fall on someone else’s property, then you know how frenzied the scene is. Getting witness information is the last thing on your mind; however, if you are not physically impaired after the accident and have been treated for your injuries, it is critical you retrieve witness information from the scene.
Types of Witnesses
There are three types of witnesses in a personal injury case:
- Pre-accident witnesses: Pre-accident witnesses saw the other driver speeding, or were in the facility when you fell. For example, these witnesses can be drivers, pedestrians, or employees
- Event witnesses: Event witnesses saw the automobiles collide or your slip and fall
- Post-accident witnesses: Post-accident witnesses include emergency personnel, doctors, and police officers who were at the scene following the crash or fall
How to Gather Witness Information
All you or a loved one has to do is ask a bystander/witness for their name and what they saw happen. Some people may be reluctant to give out their phone number to a stranger, but it doesn’t hurt to ask. Another avenue is to ensure that a police officer on the scene writes the witness’ information and statements in his report. However, if you can procure this information yourself, we suggest you do; police officers are busy, and their reports may not always include all relevant information. If none of this is possible, an experienced Georgia personal injury attorney can help track down witnesses or hire a private investigator to get their information. Keep in mind, though, that getting the information at the time of the accident increases your chances of obtaining reliable statements.
Witness information is recorded in sworn statements through police reports, affidavits, or audio or visual recordings. It includes what they saw at the time of the accident, their opinions, and anything else relevant to your case. You want to ensure that their statements are recorded at the time of the accident or as close to it as possible.
How Witness Information Is Used
Witness information helps establish fault in an accident and is a deciding factor in the amount of compensation you may be awarded. It may be years before your case is tried in court and individuals’ memories fade over time, or they may have trouble recalling certain events. Recorded witness statements and information are used in court to help refresh witnesses’ memories, to impeach them if they are caught lying about a fact, or can be used if a witness passes away before trial.
If you or a loved one were involved in a car accident or slip and fall, please know the Law Offices of Joel Williams are here to help you. Should you have any questions, don’t hesitate to call us at 404.389.1035. Our consultations are free, and you are under no obligation to hire us to assist you. We want you to fully understand your rights so you can make an informed decision and do what is best for your case.