What Should You Do When Talking to Witnesses of the Accident?

If you’ve been in a car accident, then you may need to have evidence on your side to prove your case so you can claim the compensation you deserve. One of the most fundamental pieces of evidence you can have is witness testimony. But what should you do when you are talking to a witness of your accident? Learn more before you contact an automobile accident lawyer in Houston, Texas for help with your case.

What Should You Do When Talking to Witnesses of the Accident?

The first thing you should know about talking to witnesses after the accident is that you, as someone who was involved in the accident, are not allowed to leave the scene of the car accident. Leaving the scene of a car accident can result in legal consequences, so if you do want to talk to a witness, you will need to remain at the scene until the police arrive: even if a witness leaves. 

When you are speaking with a witness of your accident, you will want to be sure to collect contact information and information about what they saw. You should not prompt the witness to provide details that will support your perspective. The witness account should be organic and factual. You should not alter any facts of what the witness has to say, argue with the witness’s account, or lead the witness to provide skewed evidence.

Can You Record a Witness?

Yes, you are allowed to record a witness if the witness consents to be recorded. Recording witness testimony can sometimes hold more weight because it does not allow the words of the witness to be altered. You can use a voice recording app or take a video with your cell phone if you want to record a witness.

When you are recording, be sure to have the witness confirm that they consent to be recorded. If a witness changes their mind later and does not want to have a recorded account of their testimony, the portion of the recording that gets the consent of the witness will be important.

Will Witnesses Want to Help?

Yes, most witnesses do want to help. Witnessing a car accident can be traumatic, and many witnesses are reluctant to leave until police have arrived and people have gotten medical attention. You can always politely ask a witness to remain at the scene until everyone involved in the accident has received medical attention and spoken with the police.

Should Witnesses Speak With the Police?

Yes, witnesses should speak with the police. The police must take as many statements as possible about a car accident to include in the crash report and police records, both of which can be used as evidence in court. If the police speak with the witness first, you can always ask to speak with the witness after the police so that you can have your own evidence to be used for your case.

Why Is a Witness Statement Important?

A witness testimony can be the pivotal point of your car accident lawsuit. Although your testimony and the testimony of the other motorist is important to establish negligence and liability in a case, certain cases can benefit from additional witnesses that will provide information about how an accident occurred and the actions that were taken after an accident. Eyewitness testimony can be essential for proving liability.

When Should You Contact an Automobile Accident Lawyer in Houston, TX?

So, when do you need to contact an automobile accident lawyer in Houston, Texas? Generally speaking, it’s usually a good idea to contact a lawyer whether you’ve been in a minor accident or a multi-car pile-up. A car accident lawyer will understand the rules of the road and the legal statutes that apply to your case.

Whether or not your case goes to court, having a lawyer on your side may make it easier to get the compensation you deserve for your injuries and damages. Some of the reasons you may want to contact a lawyer include:

Seriously Injured

Being seriously injured in an accident can have lasting consequences. For example, serious injuries typically have longer recovery periods and need ongoing treatment, which means that your injuries can cause hefty medical bills and long hospital stays. If you are seriously injured in an accident, then you may need the help of a lawyer to secure compensation so that you can pay medical bills.

Serious injuries can also result in temporary disability, permanent disability, and even wrongful death. In each of these situations, you will need the help of a lawyer to fight for your rights or the rights of your loved one.

Need Compensation

If you require compensation for your injuries or other damages, such as the repair of your vehicle, you will need a lawyer on your side. Although insurance companies are supposed to offer compensation when you file claims, some companies will not offer adequate compensation.

For example, if you lost your job because you were too injured to work, your compensation should also cover the loss of your wages or earning potential. If your compensation is not adequate for your injuries, damages, and pain and suffering, a lawyer will help you advocate for the compensation you deserve. You may have additional compensation needs for your case, such as pain and suffering, loss of relationships, and emotional distress. 

Pending Lawsuit

The first thing you should do after you’ve served lawsuit papers is contact a lawyer. Because Texas has a doctrine called comparative negligence, the other driver involved in your accident may accuse you of being at least partially responsible for the accident. You will need the help of an automobile accident lawyer if you have a pending comparative negligence lawsuit.

In your comparative negligence case, it’s imperative to prove that you are less than 51% responsible for the accident. Comparative negligence allows people who have some liability in a car accident to still claim compensation. If you are more than 51% at fault for the car accident, you will not be able to claim any compensation. Your lawyer will be able to help you navigate your case in court.

Settlement Offer

Finally, you may need to contact a lawyer if you have been contacted by the insurance company or another lawyer that offers a settlement offer. Your settlement should cover all of your damages but you may be given an offer that does not total the compensation you’re entitled to. Furthermore, if you’re being pressured by the insurance company or another lawyer to accept an unfair settlement offer, then you will need a lawyer to represent it to your rights as a victim.

After an accident, one of the most important pieces of evidence is witness testimony, which can be used to help you get a better settlement offer or can be used as evidence in court for comparative negligence cases. If you are speaking to a witness, be sure to not leave the scene of the accident, ask to record the witness’s testimony, and get contact information from the witness. Please contact Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Agosto, Aziz & Stogner in Houston, TX to learn more about filing a car accident lawsuit.