Accident Investigation - Proving Liability

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Obtaining a witness statement in investigation of an event at an early juncture following an accident is critical. Some cases are clear cut and may not require a witness statement to prove the liability, but even in those cases, if there is an independent witness to verify what happened and how it happened, it is a good idea to secure the statement. Some people wait to get an attorney for weeks or months following a bad injury. This can unfortunately have a negative impact on the outcome of a case.

Many cases don't have independent witnesses that saw the events unfold or have first hand knowledge of the circumstances or conditions that caused someone to get hurt or killed. If those witnesses are available, a sworn statement from those witnesses can be invaluable. Waiting weeks or months can jeopardize obtaining a critical tool to settle or win a case.

Witnesses to an accident are like the everyone else. They move, die and forget. Securing a witness statement isn't always an easy task. Some people don't want to get involved. Some people are with the wrong companion when they see an accident. The list can go on and on, but sometimes it takes a little effort to get someone to tell their story. A witness statement needs to be firsthand knowledge, truthful, accurate and everyone involved in securing the statement needs to keep that in mind first and foremost.

I personally witnessed a bad Houston freeway accident involving multiple vehicles and a stalled truck. I saw the entire accident unfold, and after the dust settled (literally and figuratively) I took out a pad, made a diagram and made detailed notes about what I saw. I knew from experience that it was highly likely I would be contacted and I was. I provided the same documents to everyone that asked for my version of events. I didn't have a dog in that fight, but I knew I was in a situation to provide valuable information to whichever party was interested.

Most cases don't come with experienced accident investigators or personal injury lawyers as witnesses. The "if you snooze you lose" saying can apply to investigation in accident cases. The insurance carriers that insure individuals or companies that are involved in serious accidents have an emergency response team on call 24/7. Your opposition in a serious accident case is working the moment they get notice to secure information that they believe is critical in defending a personal injury claim.

Automobile red light cases are particularly subject to the need for an independent witness. In some cases, neighbors, area business and frequent users of the property, roadway or premises can be extraordinarily helpful in providing facts. There are video cameras everywhere and the entire event may be on a video somewhere. Cases where people are injured on premises, by falling, tripping, stepping in holes or other source of injury also frequently can be won or lost based on the ability to get an independent witness to convey the prior condition of the premises.

The ability to secure independent witness statements can make or break a case. Contacting an attorney at an early juncture following an event can be the key. You can bet the ranch that the insurance carrier is working on it..