One way to think about a car accident case is that it is a dispute between two drivers. Both drivers often have differing accounts of what happened. Some drivers may even lie about the crash to try to avoid accountability.
These are all reasons why crash victims need other evidence in addition to their account of what occurred. For example, witness testimony may back up your statement about the crash, which could help to validate your case.
The problem is that witnesses may forget important information as time passes. However, you can prevent losing testimony that could be vital to your claim by hiring an experienced lawyer who can take steps to preserve witness testimony.
Our Schmidt Kramer auto accident lawyers in Harrisburg have extensive knowledge of Pennsylvania laws and have helped many crash victims secure compensation. There are no upfront costs with our services.
Have legal questions after a Pennsylvania car crash? Call today: (717) 510-1782.
The Importance of Preserving Witness Testimony
Eyewitnesses can provide a lot of detail about what happened in a car crash. They may have seen things that neither driver saw because they had a better vantage point.
Witnesses may also be able to back up the victim’s statements about what happened in the crash. This type of testimony is particularly powerful when the witness has no connection to the victim and has strong credibility. In these situations, the witness is viewed as an objective third party.
Considering the benefits of witness statements, you need to take steps to preserve this potentially valuable testimony. Soon after the crash, witnesses can quickly start to forget little details, some of which could be vital to proving your case.
It does not take long for memories about a car crash to begin to fade. In fact, witness statements made days or weeks after a crash may already contradict what he or she said right after it occurred.
You can avoid these kinds of problems by preserving witness testimonies early on. Preserving testimony is also a contingency in case the witness cannot physically attend a deposition or courtroom trial.
Sometimes witnesses are people who were involved in the crash, such as drivers in a third vehicle. They may have suffered serious injuries that prevent them from providing testimony later.
It is also possible for a witness to be from out of state or even out of the country. Traveling to the local area for a trial or deposition may not be possible for these individuals.
Preserving Witness Statements After a Crash
You can help your lawyer build a case by gathering evidence right after the crash. For example, if there are any witnesses, ask them to talk to the police when they arrive at the scene. The responding officer can document witness statements in the police report.
While you are waiting for the police to arrive, you could try to ask the witness if he or she would be willing to provide a recorded statement. You could record the statement with your smartphone. It is also a good idea to ask the witness to write down his or her contact details. Some witnesses may be willing to write down what they remember and give you a copy of the document.
However, it is often not possible for crash victims to collect witness statements, especially if passing traffic makes it unsafe to get out of the car. In some cases, victims may be too badly injured. Regardless of whether you can gather evidence or not, the most important thing is to stay safe.
Steps Lawyers Can Take To Preserve Witness Testimony
One of the benefits of hiring a lawyer is that he or she can preserve witness testimony for you. The aftermath of a car crash is a difficult time for injured victims. From a physical and emotional standpoint, it is vital that you focus more on recovering from your injuries, rather than trying to navigate the complex legal process.
Your lawyer can take multiple steps to preserve witness testimony on your behalf, including:
Asking a Witness To Sign a Sworn Statement
A notarized, sworn statement from a car crash witness can be used to help prove your case. The statement contains everything the witness can remember about the accident.
You should contact a lawyer as soon as possible so he or she can collect this sworn statement before the witness forgets details that could be vital to the success of your case.
Asking the Judge To Speed Up the Discovery Process
The witness might not be able to be present for the discovery process that precedes a courtroom trial. Fortunately, your lawyer may be able to ask the judge to speed up the process so the witness can provide testimony that may help your case.
Asking the Witness To Attend a Deposition
Sometimes witnesses may be apprehensive about being part of a car accident case. For example, the thought of being deposed may cause them stress and anxiety.
However, an experienced lawyer can talk to the witness about his or her concerns. Sometimes one conversation with an experienced lawyer can help put a witness’s mind at ease.
Depositions give the defense a chance to question the witness and these question-and-answer sessions are recorded so they can be used at trial.
Depositions can also be used at a trial if the witness is unable to attend for a legitimate reason.
Call Schmidt Kramer for Experienced Legal Assistance
Need legal help after a car crash?
You may think you can take on the insurance company yourself, but insurers often take advantage of crash victims. When you hire an attorney, he or she can deal with the insurance company for you.
It is worth mentioning that those who hire lawyers often achieve more favorable results, as insurers are more likely to increase an offer for compensation. This is often because they would like to avoid the courtroom.
Call today to schedule a free legal consultation: (717) 510-1782.