|WITNESSES TO AUTOMOBILE ACCIDENTS WILL MAKE OR BREAK YOUR CASE.|
|Written by Los Angeles Car Accident Lawyer|
|Friday, 05 November 2010 12:47|
There are two elements that the plaintiff or claimant needs to prove in every personal injury case: liability and damages. To even get to the second element of damages, one must prove liability or in other words, prove that someone other than the plaintiff caused plaintiff’s damages. If you were involved in a rear end collision, for example, liability is usually not a problem. But if the facts of your accident involve something like a disputed red light or a lane change on the freeway, you may find that the insurance companies will drag their feet with their liability investigation. They may also eventually deny liability all together or accept only a portion of fault. Without witnesses it may be very hard to achieve complete victory in these situations.
If you feel that the driver of the vehicle that ran the red light or otherwise caused the automobile accident, is not about to act honorably and accept responsibility, your first reaction should be to look around and see if someone will agree to provide their name and telephone number to you. This is usually relatively easy to achieve in situations where a serious injury occurs or a lot of vehicles are involved. People feel the seriousness of the situation and stop to provide assistance. This is also usually easy if the negligent driver was doing something offensive to people not involved in the eventual collision, such as cutting in and out of lanes, speeding or just driving recklessly.
Yet we all live very busy lives and taking time out of one’s schedule to spend more than just a few minutes waiting for the police to show up and then waiting for the officers to take down the statements is something most people try to stay away from. These few minutes may not be the end of it either. Often witnesses are later contacted by the insurance company investigators and attorneys to provide additional statements. In more rare, but not uncommon situations, witnesses may be subpoenaed to depositions and even trials. That is why we should all be very understanding of people’s aversion to being a witness in any situation.
Nevertheless experience shows that if one is polite and courteous, it is hard for most witnesses to refuse telling the truth about something they actually saw. Their testimony needs to be addressed immediately. Once your attorney obtains the witness information, he or she needs to move quickly to secure a recorded statement from that person. You have to ask for permission not only to record any telephone conversation but also ask permission to release and share that recording with others. People’s memories are short so time is of the essence.
Usually two people will not perceive the same event in the same exact way. It is also not inconceivable for witnesses to make mistakes or be biased. Sometimes an attorney will have to find ways to discredit erroneous testimony provided by the biased or false statement of a witness. Often witnesses take it upon themselves to make legal conclusions, which prove to be a false reading of the law. In a court of law witnesses can only testify about what they actually perceived without giving their opinions. Yet in a recorded statement one can ask anything relevant to the collision and the witnesses actual opinion may be used by both attorneys and insurance companies to argue liability at any time prior to trial. If there is more than one witness, it may be important to reconcile the differences in the statements with the other factors that go into the evaluation of liability, such as the physical evidence, distances and measurements in the police report as well as the statements made by the parties actually involved in the automobile accident.
Whatever the witness’ testimony may be after the automobile accident, the value of the statement of a neutral party cannot be denied. Obtaining the names, addresses and telephone numbers of such persons should definitely be something one should address immediately at the scene of any auto accident.
This article was written by Vadim Liberman, an attorney who for over 20 years has been representing clients involved in auto accident injury cases. He can be reached at his law firm, Liberman Law Group at (877) 399 - 5877 toll free or at (323) 931-5577, or through his website www.la-accidentlawyers.com
Our accident attorney at Liberman Law Group is not representing any of the parties mentioned in this blog article at the time of this personal injury posting. If you were involved in this type of an accident, please contact our Los Angeles personal injury lawyer who can assist you in answering your questions and seeking compensation for your injuries. Once our lawyer has conducted both a consultation and a full investigation, our attorney may then fully inform the contacting parties about their legal rights and potentially recovery or monetary compensation.