Car accident witnesses’ statements can play a critical role in your case after a South Carolina motor vehicle wreck. Seeking compensation starts with filing an insurance claim, and the company will want to see proof that their policyholder is to blame for your injuries.
As such, you will need to provide evidence that the negligent driver caused your accident when filing a claim. The insurance company may refuse to pay if you don’t provide sufficient evidence of negligence.
A car accident witness who saw the accident can play a vital role in supporting your claim. As such, getting the names and contact information of witnesses is essential after a motor vehicle collision – as is knowing what types of questions to ask them.
How to Find a Witness
If you didn’t identify witnesses at the scene of your crash, police who investigated the accident may have done so. You may request a copy of the collision report through the South Carolina Department of Motor Vehicles. Check the report for witness information.
The report might not contain information about witnesses. That doesn’t necessarily mean the investigating officer failed to collect this information. Contact the police department to ask if this information is available.
Who Can Be a Witness After a South Carolina Motor Vehicle Accident?
A car accident witness may be a:
- Fellow motorist
- Police officer
- Passenger in a nearby vehicle
- Passenger in your vehicle
That’s not necessarily an exhaustive list. Someone who observed at least part of your collision or its aftermath could provide testimony valuable to your claim.
Questions to Ask a Witness After a South Carolina Car Crash
The specific questions you ask a car accident witness may depend somewhat on the facts of your case. Here are some general questions to ask.
How can I contact you?
Don’t forget the basics! Make sure you collect as much contact information you can from witnesses.
What did you see or hear?
You don’t want to influence a witness’s description of the accident by offering any details from your recollection of the crash. Instead, ask them to provide a general description of what they witnessed. In addition, ask what they were doing when they witnessed the crash and how clear their view was.
What was your location?
A witness’s location in relation to a crash affects their account of the incident. Ask them if their location changed during the wreck. This may have happened if they were also in a motor vehicle when the crash occurred.
How confident are you in your recollection?
Memory isn’t perfect. A witness’s recollections of a crash may not be thoroughly clear. As such, it’s wise to find out if a witness genuinely feels their recollection is accurate.
Did any weather or road conditions contribute to the accident?
You likely have your own opinion regarding how road and weather conditions might have played a role in your crash. Even so, it’s smart to ask a witness if they believe these were factors.
Did you take any pictures or video?
This is a question worth asking in the age of smartphones. It’s possible a car accident witness recorded video or took pictures of the crash.
Are you aware of any other witnesses?
Speaking with one car accident witness may be a way to find more car accident witnesses. The person you talk to may be aware of others who observed the crash. Ask if they know of any other bystanders who may provide more information.
Do you know the parties involved in the crash?
Find out if a car accident witness has any relationship with anyone involved in the collision. Often, an independent witness’s testimony is more valuable than that of someone with a personal connection to a driver or victim.
Do you have any relevant expertise?
There are instances when car accident witnesses have some type of expertise or experience that affects their credibility. For example, maybe a witness is a veteran or someone else trained to remember key details of a traumatic incident like this one. Their testimony may be particularly valuable.
Contact a South Carolina Car Accident Lawyer
Don’t worry if you’re unsure how to find a witness after a car accident. An attorney may be able to help you with this task. A lawyer is particularly adept at getting information about an incident, so they serve as a crucial ally when investigating a crash.
At Murphy Crantford Meehan, our South Carolina personal injury lawyers are on hand to help you navigate the aftermath of a wreck. We can speak with witnesses while you focus on your recovery. Learn more by contacting us online or calling us today for a free case review.