The moments after being involved in a car accident can be scary and confusing. Even if the accident was at no fault of your own, insurance companies will often try to minimize your claim in order to save money. In the moments after a collision, there are critical things you can do and evidence you can gather to protect your injury claim.
Our experienced Kansas City car accident attorney knows how to increase your chance of a positive outcome for your injury case. Handling a personal injury claim on your own can be challenging, especially when you are focused on your recovery. Call the Law Office of Kevin J. McManus today at 816-203-0143 or contact us through our website email or chat for a free consultation. We’re here to help, and are on your side.
How Witnesses and Evidence Can Be Helpful in Kansas City Car Accidents
After a car accident, it's not unusual for the involved parties to disagree on the facts surrounding the crash, including what caused the collision and who is at fault. Many times, each driver will blame the other or not be willing to take responsibility. The other driver may have a different perspective or opinion -- or the other driver may simply being lying to avoid fault. This happens all too often after a car accident, regardless of where in Kansas or Missouri the accident occured.
Unfortunately, this situation can simply devolve into "he said, she said" without any clear determination of who is responsible for the crash and the damages that result. However, if there were witnesses to the crash, their statements, observations and opinions can make a significant difference in resolving a dispute about what happened and helping you prove your claim.
Why Car Accident Witnesses Are Important in Kansas and Missouri
Witnesses can be extremely helpful in supporting one driver's version of how the accident happened and who is at fault. A car accident witness does not even need to have observed the precise moment of impact. Even if the witness only saw the events leading up to the accident, these details can be critical in persuading the insurance company and, if necessary, a jury as to what happened.
In these situations, not all witnesses are equal. A witness’s credibility is crucial in determining the weight of their testimony. If a witness changes his or her story as time passes, their credibility can be called into question and lessen the impact of their statements. In addition, if the witness is questioned and it becomes clear that they are merely speculating as to what happened, the lack of first-hand knowledge of the event will lessen his or her credibility and the effect of such testimony.
Any inconsistency, lack of clarity, exaggeration, or flat-out lies will hurt witness credibility. Therefore, it's crucial to ensure your witnesses are prepared to answer only as to what they know to be true from their actual observation, and to be very clear and consistent in their answers.
What Questions to Ask a Car Accident Witness
At the scene of a car accident, there are critical things you need to do to protect your legal rights, including gathering all the necessary contact information of any witnesses. This may include the person's:
- phone number (including cell phones)
- any other relevant details
If you were injured in an accident, it is often difficult or even impossible to interview the witnesses at the crash scene. You would need to rely on others such as passersby, passengers who are not seriously injured or family members who arrive. Even then, the stress and confusion after a crash can make it difficult to know what questions to ask in the moment. As a result, it is often easier to ask the right questions and get complete responses afterwards.
When you are ready to contact the witnesses, make sure you set aside enough time to ask all the questions necessary to get as full a response as possible. You should not wait too long after the accident because the memories of witnesses, just like everyone, can fade with time.
If you've hired our experienced car accident lawyer, we will take care of this for you!
Below are a few types of questions you may want to ask witness to a car accident:
- Where were you located in relation to the accident?
- How far away were you from the crash (how many feet or yards)?
- Did you have a clear view of the impact? If not, what did you see?
- Can you describe the direction of the cars before the accident?
- What did you observe just before, during or after the collision?
- Did you see anything that would indicate a violation of the law (speeding, reckless or distracted driving, running a stop sign)?
- What were the weather/road conditions?
- What position were the cars in after the crash?
- Did you get any pictures or video?
- Did you talk to anyone at the accident scene?
Collecting Other Types of Evidence
The most important thing to do after an accident is to get yourself in a safe place and seek medical treatment for any injuries. The next best thing to do is document the accident scene as much as possible. This includes photographs and video of the accident scene, the injuries, and damages caused. If your accident was caused by a dangerous property condition, you or someone else should photograph the area and preserve any evidence relating to it. Also, as mentioned, write down the contact information for any witnesses and any statements from them or other parties involved. We consider documenting and photographing the accident to be one of the top 10 things you can do to maximize your recovery in an injury case.
It’s always beneficial to have an accident report made of the event. If it is a car, truck or motorcycle crash, the police should be called to secure the scene and create a report. This report will be helpful in establishing what happened, and it may even identify who caused the accident. If the accident occurred on the property of a business or retail establishment, their own security or personnel may create a report of what happened.
Regardless, it is critical that the police report is complete and accurate in detailing the event, and that you receive a copy of it. If the report contains inaccuracies, you should contact the police station and have the discrepancies corrected as soon as possible.
Lastly, if you are injured in an accident and fault is disputed, call our office as soon as possible. Our Kansas City car accident attorney is experienced in handling these situations and can help gather and preserve evidence, interview witnesses and obtain experts to prove your case to the insurance company or a jury, if necessary.
A lawsuit is not always needed in a personal injury case. However, in cases with disputed fault or liability, it helps to have our experienced attorney on your side.
How Our Kansas City Car Accident Attorney Can Help!
Witnesses can be invaluable in a car accident case, as well as the other kinds of critical evidence that’s important in any claim. Our experienced Kansas City car accident attorney will assist you with gathering and preserving the necessary documents and information for your claim. We'll also protect your rights and interests, especially when maximizing the compensation you deserve.
We're ready to hear your story and help navigate a way forward. Call us today at (816) 203-0143 or through our website contact form.. You can also instantly download our free book right now, Crash Course: 9 Mistakes to Avoid Wrecking Your Injury Claim in Kansas and Missouri. We’re here for you, and on your side.