Personal Injury Lawyer
A witness is an incredibly valuable element of your personal injury case, and can help you get the best results possible. Witness statements can help support your claims about injuries, especially if they saw the accident unfold. These statements can offer information that perhaps you weren’t aware of, such as exactly how the other party is responsible for the incident occurring.
There are many ways that witnesses can help your personal injury case. For example, a bystander can talk about how they saw the other party acting recklessly moments before the accident happened. Or, your coworkers could talk about how your injuries changed your work life temporarily until you could recover. And lastly, expert witnesses like your treating doctor could come forward with a statement about your condition and facts about your injuries.
It can be uncomfortable to approach a stranger, bystander or other witnesses about helping you in your personal injury case. Here are examples of questions a person may ask their attorney when it comes to talking with potential witnesses:
Q: How can I approach a stranger about getting their name and number?
A: If after the personal injury accident your health was stable enough to enable you to talk with witnesses, don’t be afraid of denial. Even if a bystander knows you were in the right and the victim in the situation, they may not want to be involved in legal issues. To help lessen the uncomfortability of asking, just request the witness’ name and a form of contact. You do not have to get a full statement in that moment, as it may be too tense of a scene for that just yet. Your attorney can contact the witness the following day to talk further.
Q: What can I do to collect statements from those I know?
A: Your friends, doctor, partner, and coworkers can all be helpful witnesses. If any of them saw the accident or what you suffered afterwards, it is important that you go over what they witnessed in their perspective as quickly as possible. The human memory is flawed, and split-second details may be forgotten if you wait too long to speak with them about the incident.
Q: What if an insurance adjuster tries to contact witnesses?
A: An insurance adjuster may make an effort independently to track down and talk with witnesses of the accident. They may reach out to your local law enforcement office for the police accident report and speak to officers who responded at the scene. It is vital that you or your personal injury lawyer in Fort Lauderdale, FL contact witnesses first, to hear about what they saw to prevent an insurance adjuster from adding distorted or completely untrue recollections into their minds.
Contact your witnesses and inform them that an insurance adjuster may reach out, but that they are under no obligation to discuss the personal injury incident. Keep in mind that telling your witnesses to not speak with them at all could interfere with the opposing side’s right to get information, which could then jeopardize your claim. How you word this warning is crucial.
Thanks to Needle & Ellenberg, P.A. for their insight into personal injury claims and talking with witnesses.