Who Saw What? Eyewitnesses And Your Personal Injury Case

Fault in an auto accident is a key issue. Fault determines who caused the accident and which driver is responsible for paying all the damages. One way to determine fault after a car accident is by finding and interviewing eyewitnesses to the accident. 

Eyewitnesses are important in an accident investigation because they can speak about what was happening right before the accident occurred. They may be able to give testimony about the speed, positions, lanes, and behavior of the drivers involved in the accident. They can testify about the weather, traffic conditions, and other issues that can affect fault in an accident.

What the Eyewitness Saw

Specifically, eyewitnesses can help insurers and others determine fault in the following ways:

  • Corroborating evidence - If the accounts of the drivers involved in an accident are conflicting, eyewitness testimony can help to establish what really happened. After an accident, drivers and other passengers are notoriously bad at providing statements. They may be shaken up, hurt, or in shock. It can fall to other observers to provide an accurate story of the events.
  • Filling in the gaps - Even if there is no dispute about what happened during an accident, eyewitness testimony can provide additional details that might be missed by other types of evidence, such as camera footage. For instance, an eyewitness may have a view from above if they are in a tall building. That can provide investigators with a unique viewpoint. 
  • Establishing fault - Eyewitness testimony can help establish which driver was at fault for an accident based on their observations of the drivers' behavior and actions leading up to the collision. The actions of the drivers before the crash provide important evidence of fault. Witnesses may observe, for example, that the driver of one of the vehicles was weaving erratically in and out of traffic before the accident occurred. 
  • Supporting claims - Eyewitness testimony can also be important in supporting claims made by the parties involved in the accident, such as claims for damages or injuries. If a party is deemed to be at fault in an accident, they must pay all the costs of the accident for both parties.

It's important to note that eyewitness testimony is not always reliable. Memories can be influenced by various factors, such as stress, emotion, and the passage of time. Eyewitnesses can also have different perceptions of the same event. Therefore, it's important to carefully evaluate eyewitness testimony and corroborate it with other evidence whenever possible.

Contact a personal injury attorney near you to learn more.