July 25, 2022
How Valuable Are Witness Statements in Your Personal Injury Claim
If you got caught in a car accident, proving fault and damages can be a real challenge. However, having a witness to support your version of the facts increases your likelihood of winning your personal injury lawsuit. People who witnessed the accident can provide important insights into what happened. Without a strong witness statement, it will be your word against the other party. The statements provided by the witnesses must support your versions of events to attest that the other party was at fault for the accident and strengthen your personal injury claim.
What Is a Witness Statement and Who Can Provide It
A witness statement is a document that records the evidence and events that occurred in a dispute. It contains a written summary of what the witness saw and heard and is signed by the person to confirm that the statements are true.
There can be several potential witnesses in a personal injury case.
These are the individuals who saw the events that led up to the accident or how your injuries have significantly affected your day-to-day life. People who were in the vicinity and witnessed the events of the actual accident can provide testimony. However, witness statements are more credible if they come from objective, unrelated parties.
- Expert Witnesses
These individuals have special knowledge and can help the jury understand complex medical, scientific, financial, and other issues. Medical professionals, financial projection specialists, and accident reconstruction specialists are among the expert witnesses who can provide their testimony. However, the court must assess their expertise before they can be qualified as an expert.
- Familiar Witnesses
Your family and friends can be considered “familiar witnesses” and can provide statements about the impact of your injury on the quality of your life — physically, emotionally, and financially.
How Witness Statements Can Support Your Claim
Witnesses at the car accident scene, who are not associated with either party or have no vested interest in the result of the case, can give their objective perspective of the incident. These statements can provide significant support to your car accident personal injury claim in the following ways.
- Showing Your Innocence
An accident witness statement can help lessen or eliminate any ambiguity that you were partially at fault. Often, the erring party and their insurance provider will attempt to put the accountability on the victim to devalue or avoid compensation payment at all costs.
An accurate witness testimony can effectively detract from the version of events of the at-fault party or highlight discrepancies in their versions of what lead up to during or after the accident.
- Preserving the Facts
Photos and recorded videos of the accident from eyewitnesses can help preserve the facts related to the incident. If the witness statement contains such information, it can strengthen your case and may persuade the at-fault party and their insurance provider to settle.
- Proving Negligence
If the accident happened in Whitby, you and your injury lawyer in Whitby will need to establish the fact that the other party was negligent to recover compensation. You will need one or more witnesses who can attest to and support your claim that the driver was acting negligently. Perhaps, they can provide a statement attesting that the at-fault party was using their mobile phone while driving, which led to the accident.
- Validating Your Injury
Witnesses can help validate the scope and extent of the impact of the injuries you sustained during the accident to the judge or jury. Their statement should provide clear details of your actions and behaviour at the car crash scene. For instance, the pain you sustained caused by the accident.
Also, strong witness recorded testimony can also discredit the other party’s claim of any bodily injury. In case the at-fault driver lied or exaggerated their injuries, eyewitnesses or expert witnesses can disprove their claims by providing details of how the other party was moving around normally at the scene of the accident.
How to Obtain Witness Statements
Witness statements are often used to strengthen crucial evidence in a car accident lawsuit. Obtaining statements from people at the crash scene can help you build your case and prove your innocence. If you are physically capable, make sure to gather information, such as the name and contact information, of the people who may have witnessed the accident.
- Motorists and/or passengers of other vehicles
- People living nearby the accident scene
- Workers or customers
Ask witnesses politely to provide you with their contact information and version of events, as well as if they are willing to provide a statement. Once they have given their permission, take an audio or video recording of their statement or request for a dated written statement with their signature.
When filing a legal claim for damages, a personal injury claim lawyer can assist you in contacting and persuading witnesses to support your claims and schedule them for a formal statement.
Factors That Affect Witness Credibility
The credibility of a witness is an extremely critical factor. If the witness has proven their credibility, the judge or jury will likely give weight to their statement. On the other hand, if the court perceives the witness as deceptive, the statement they provide may be disregarded.
Here are the following factors that can reduce the credibility of a witness:
- Inconsistent or contradicting statements
- History of dishonesty
- Past criminal record
- Personal interest in the outcome of the case
- Cognitive or memory issues
- Impairment at the time of the accident
Additionally, if the person was not close or near enough to witness the events that transpired during the accident or only saw the aftermath of the crash, they may not be considered credible and may not be taken seriously.
If a car accident has caused you or your loved one serious injuries, make sure to get in touch with a reliable personal injury lawyer. At Michelle Linka Law, our team of legal professionals is ready to help you go through the process of filing an accident claim and obtain testimonies from qualified witnesses.
Never let the at-fault driver and their insurance provider find any reasons to deny your claim. Our track record and years of experience in personal injury lawsuits can help you get a fair value. Give us a call today at 416-477-7288 for a free initial legal consultation.