The most common question that comes up is whether you have to write a statement and participate in the witness process or not. If you saw a car accident, then you may find yourself sitting in front of a car accident lawyer in Richmond, VA, quite soon afterward.
Your statement may be voluntary, or it may be required through subpoenas. Either way, you should know how to write a statement properly and ensure that all of the important evidence is made available. It’s true that two witnesses who saw the same crash may have different interpretations of what caused the accident. However, the factor of perspective is always taken into consideration. You just need to focus on giving clear and factual information.
Who Counts as a Witness?
Essentially anyone who was at the scene who was not a driver is a witness. Passengers, although often referred to as ‘passengers’ are witnesses. Other witnesses include other drivers on the road. Even people on the street who saw the crash happen can be witnesses.
Initially, at the scene, the police who arrived will try to collect information on all present witnesses. If there were serious injuries or the crash was severe, then giving this information may not be so voluntary. Remember that the police are opening an investigation if there was harm or death involved in the crash. There is no reason to fail or refuse to provide information for an investigation.
Can You Do the “Right” Thing?
There is no such thing as the “right” witness statement. Yes, your statement can impact the case, and it will likely impact both parties. However there is no right statement, and if you’re crafting a statement to paint one driver in a good light, then it’s not honest.
Don’t fall to any lawyer or insurance company’s guilt trip of asking you to do the right thing. They may take time to explain Virginia’s harsh fault laws or explain that someone won’t receive compensation in some circumstances. Just remember that the only right statement is an honest one.
Crafting a Statement
So, no one should tell you what to write in your statement, but that leaves many people confused. Most people never have to write a witness statement, and they don’t know how to start or end it. Don’t worry, with a few very basic guidelines you can write an informative and fair statement.
Start with your contact information. Then explain your perspective of the crash briefly. That might look like, “standing at the crosswalk on Main street,” or “driving behind the vehicle that was hit.” Then, answer these questions:
- Where did the accident take place? Be specific with cross streets, mile markers, or freeway exits.
- When did it happen? Give a time of day and the calendar date.
- What was each vehicle doing? If you didn’t notice one of the vehicles or only realized them at the time of the crash, then say that. Always be honest.
- Who was involved? Explain which cars were involved and if it caused any accidents afterward, explain those as well to the best of your ability.
Keep in mind that during these statements, you’re not expected to know these drivers or people. You can refer to people by distinguishing factors, or by the car they were driving. For example, the driver of the grey Nissan hit the blue Honda. Then a green Ford slammed on its brakes and the Nissan driver.
Again, it’s always important, to be honest, and transparent. If you think that something is important, then include it in your statement. If it looked like someone was on the phone, or distracted, then say so. Virginia works on a system of contributory negligence, and any statement could be important to the claim.
Getting Into Contact with Legal Guidance
The car accident lawyer in Richmond, VA that helps victims of car accidents, CAIL, often relies on witness statements. The accounts of the people who saw the crash first hand can be valuable and provide insight to aid crash recreators. If you were a passenger or saw an accident, then you should feel more confident speaking to an attorney than an insurance company.
If you were part of the crash and injured, then contact a car wreck lawyer at CAIL for help in getting compensation. Your case deserves an experienced and skilled Richmond attorney. Focus on your recovery and let CAIL handle the rest. Contact CAIL now to speak with someone from our legal team and to arrange a consultation.