Do I Need a Witness to Prove a Car Accident Claim or Case?
If you have been in a car accident, you will need to show evidence of what happened for insurance to coverage the damages. Or, if insurance won't suffice and the accident is severe, you may end up involved in a lawsuit. Whether or not you have a witness to the accident, you can still prove your claim or case.
Witnesses are not the only way that proof is presented, whether a matter is being handled administratively through an insurance claim or legally in a lawsuit. So let's consider what you can do to prove what happened in an accident if there are no witnesses to support you.
What to Do When There Are Witnesses
If you have witnesses, great! It's easier to prove your version of the facts if you have a witness to back you up. So, ideally your accident occurred in front of a large crowd and people were all filming the incident.
At the accident scene, make sure you ask witnesses what they saw. Be sure to collect their names and personal information. This will be valuable when you need to present evidence of your claim to your insurance or your lawyer.
What If There Are No Witnesses?
But even if no one saw what happened, you can use a camera to document the scene. Make sure you take pictures of everything from skid marks to shattered glass to dented fences or fallen trees. Whatever you can see in the surrounding area that may shed light on the accident is something to capture on camera.
Immediate injury is going to be an obstacle to your ability to collect evidence, of course. But even if you are stuck in one spot, grab your phone and try to take some shots. Here is another thing to consider when you have no witness and are immobilized or hurt: record your angst and describe what is happening at the scene.
Quality of Evidence
It may not be the first thing that occurs to you, but recording what you see and hear at the scene can be very helpful to your insurance claim or lawsuit. Because the recordings are temporally close to the accident, or occurred right after, they have a kind of reliability that comes from immediacy and you can use these recordings to support your claim or case, as well as to keep your memory of the incident refreshed.
Talk to a Lawyer
If you have been injured in an accident, talk to a lawyer about your options. Even if you did not know to take photos at the time and didn't record anything at the scene, that does not mean you have no alternative ways of proving a claim or case. Many personal injury attorneys consult for free or a minimal fee and will be happy to talk about your case.
- Find Personal Injury Lawyers in Your Area (FindLaw's Lawyer Directory)
- Car Accident Basics (FindLaw's Learn About the Law)
- Liability: Proving Fault in a Car Crash (Findlaw's Learn About the Law)
- Automobile Insurance Coverage Policy (FindLaw's Learn About the Law)
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