If you are involved in a collision that is not your fault, one of two things can happen- the other driver can accept blame or the other driver can claim that you are at fault. If the driver of the other vehicle contests fault, you may find yourself having to prove that your actions did not cause the collision in order to get compensation for your injuries and damages. An independent eyewitness account of the collision can be the best way to assign blame.
So You’ve Been in a Collision…
If you feel well enough after the collision, exit your vehicle and take pictures of the scene. Make sure to document the position of the vehicles, their proximity to traffic lights and signs, and the condition of the roadways. These pictures may prove to be helpful later to corroborate your story.
Next, look for a witness. It is best if this witness is a bystander- someone that was not involved in the collision. Possible eyewitnesses may be pedestrians, other drivers or passengers on the road, patrons of local establishments, or individuals in nearby homes. If someone did see the collision, ask for his or her name and contact information.
Importance of Eyewitness Testimony
You may think that you will not need an independent eyewitness account of your collision. Perhaps you have passengers in your vehicle whose recollection of the incident matches your’s. Perhaps the other driver told you that the collision was his or her fault. It is still best to obtain an eyewitness if possible.
Although your passengers’ accounts of the collision are credible, a jury may not agree. Juries can assume that your passengers’ testimonies are biased by their relationship to you. The other driver may tell you that he or she accepts blame for the collision, but that person may change their story when speaking to police. Juries find independent eyewitness accounts to be especially believable because third parties do not have a horse in the race. Without a stake in the outcome, the bystander does not have any reason to lie.
Memories do fade and change. It is extremely important to hire an attorney after a collision so that the witnesses may be contacted and their accounts documented as soon as possible. If you or a loved one have been involved in a motor vehicle collision, contact the attorneys at Rehmeyer & Allatt for a free consultation.