If called upon, are you a good auto accident witness? Some people are; others are not. Often, it depends on your attention to detail, if you made notes, and your memory. Many people see auto accidents as they happen. If called upon to serve as a witness in a civil or criminal matter, what kind of witness would you be?
Sometimes, your ability to provide detail and perspective is critical in the case. So, what makes a good auto accident witness?
What to do
- Observe everything about the accident carefully, with attention to detail.
- Do not discuss the accident with other bystanders, involved drivers, or anyone else except the police officer making the accident report.
- Write down everything you observe, in detail.
- Identify yourself to the reporting police officer as a witness.
- Offer your contact information to each driver so they can reach you if a witness is needed.
- Look carefully at every aspect of the accident, particularly anything that seems amiss.
- Take pictures of the crash and those involved.
- Keep your notes in a safe place.
What to write down
- Make, model, color and license number of all involved vehicles.
- Who was driving the vehicle? A basic physical description may be helpful. It may be even more helpful if you also note clothes, hair color and style, age.
- Did any driver appear to be intoxicated?
- Was either vehicle a commercial or corporate vehicle?
- Any comments or statements made by any driver or passenger involved in the accident.
- Was anyone in the involved vehicles wearing glasses or sunglasses?
- A full description of all passengers of each vehicle.
- Note details about the involved vehicles – tinted windows, cracked windshield, flat tires, damage to the vehicle prior to the crash.
- Damage to the vehicle as a result of the current accident.
- Physical condition of all occupants of all vehicles. Are any injuries obvious? Which individuals were transported to an emergency room?
- Were any of the passengers or drivers able to drive away the involved vehicles after the police report was complete?
- Was anyone involved texting or talking on a mobile phone?
- Was any driver driving erratically before the crash?
- Was any driver obviously speeding?
- Did some action or event in the area that contributed to the crash?
- Were there any road hazards that might have contributed either to the cause of the crash or its outcome?
- Was any driver or passenger disabled or handicapped either physically or mentally, to the extent you are able to observe this.
- Did any person involved in the crash have an obvious injury before the accident (e.g., wearing a neck brace, limb in a cast, arm in a sling, large bandage on any part of the body, use of a cane, walker or crutches).
- Did anyone claim to be driving when, in fact, s/he was a passenger?
- Were drivers and passengers wearing seatbelts?
- Was any young child in an appropriate safety seat?
The ability of anyone to capture all of this information about an auto accident would make them the ideal witness in the mind of any attorney or involved party. You may not have access to all of this information. You should not be expected to collect all of this information. This list is offered as a guide to help bystanders to be good auto accident witnesses.
Call Altizer Law, P.C.
If you or a loved one is injured in an auto accident, Bettina and her team at Altizer Law, P.C., are here to help you and, should you wish, to represent you. We do what we do because we care about people and because we are committed to obtaining justice and fair compensation for their hurts and harms. We fight aggressively, fiercely, and relentlessly for each client.