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Can I Approach a Witness to a Car Accident?

On behalf of Brad Wicker of BDIW Law posted on Thursday April 29, 2021.

There is no harm in approaching people who witnessed your car accident and asking for their contact information, but the most valuable evidence will come from people who were in the car without you and those who treated you for your injuries.

How would you feel if someone you had first met only seconds earlier asked you to take sides in a dispute that did not directly involve you and in which large amounts of money, and perhaps even criminal charges, were at stake? You would probably feel apprehensive. When nearby pedestrians or drivers witness a car accident, the law allows you to approach them about giving a witness statement that can support your insurance claim stemming from the accident; if you later file a car accident lawsuit to recover damages for your medical expenses, witnesses’ statements can serve as evidence. Assuming that you can even get to the witnesses safely and that you have the courage to put them on the spot and ask them to provide witness testimony, there are easier ways to support your claim, ways that do not require you to make big requests of strangers. Thecar accident lawyers at BDIW Law can help you gather the evidence you need to build a strong case.

The Perils of Approaching Strangers for Witness Statements

When you get out of the car after an accident, you notice people standing next to their car in a nearby parking lot, and you are almost sure that they saw what happened. Should you go and talk to them, to ask for their contact information in hopes ofgetting a witness statement? It depends. Can you walk to the witnesses without making your injuries worse? Does the other driver want to approach them, too? (That would be an awkward situation, even for people who thrive on conflict.) Were they paying enough attention to see whose fault the accident was, or were they focused on their conversation or their smartphones? There are no guarantees that the bystanders could provide useful testimony, and getting the testimony from them requires effort and courage.

The Best Evidence Was with You All Along

The people who are in the best position to offer witness testimony are the ones who were closest to you during and immediately after the accident. If a passenger was with you in the car, ask them to give a witness statement; you already know and trust the person enough to ride in the car together. Likewise, if a bystander came to assist you after the accident, they are probably willing to give you their contact information, and you can ask them for a statement after you have received medical attention for your acute injuries. Likewise, the first responders who arrive after the accident will write reports, as will the doctor who treats you in the emergency room, and these reports can provide strong evidence.

Contact BDIW Law About Witness Statements in Car Accident Cases

A car accident lawyer can help you decide which witness statements you need to build your case and can help you obtain them. Contact BDIW Law in Tulsa, Oklahoma about your car accident case.