What Questions Should You Ask Witnesses at the Scene of an Accident?

Eyewitnesses can be valuable after a motor vehicle accident. They can support your claims about what happened and who is at fault for your injury. However, you must know the questions you should ask to obtain helpful information. A witness who gives a statement to the insurance company or testifies at a trial can benefit your case and improve your chance of recovering compensation.

Below are questions you should consider asking witnesses at the scene of a crash.

Can You Describe How the Crash Occurred in Your Own Words?

A witness should discuss the events leading up to the accident without confusion. Asking specific questions can create false memories. Allowing them to recall what happened will provide the most accurate story.

They might also offer details you didn’t know about or think to ask. After asking this initial question, you can follow up with other questions to fill in the gaps in the story.

When Did You Realize the Accident Happened or Was About to Occur?

Asking a question like this is beneficial. If the witness says they only saw what happened after hearing an impact, they can’t speak to the cause or describe what each driver did in the moments before the crash.

You can get a play-by-play of the circumstances leading up to the accident if the witness you talk to saw everything from the beginning. They might have seen the other driver run a red light or walk out of a liquor store before getting into their car. Details like this can help you prove someone else is liable for your injury.

Where Were You When the Accident Occurred?

Asking the witness’s location in relation to the crash is crucial. An insurance adjuster or a jury might dispute their story if they saw the collision from far away.

Obstructions, such as street lamps, parked vehicles, and bushes, block a person’s view. If the witness were close to the scene and had a clear view, their statement would be more credible than if they were sitting hundreds of feet away in a restaurant.

Were You with Anyone When the Accident Happened?

Asking whether the witness was with someone at the time of the collision is helpful. You have other witnesses to talk to and ask about their observations. You can compare stories between them to determine whether their facts align or differ somehow.

What Did You Do Immediately After the Crash?

A witness’s actions after a car accident provide insight into what they think happened. They might have called 911 or run to the vehicles to check on everyone if they thought the collision was severe. If they perceived it as a minor fender bender, they likely didn’t notify authorities or worry about whether anyone was hurt.

Did You Notice Anyone Else Near the Accident Scene?

Besides asking who they were with, uncovering other bystanders can lead to other witnesses in the case. You should ask whether they saw other people nearby when the collision occurred and whether anyone watched the scene until law enforcement arrived. You might be able to track down those witnesses.

How Was the Weather?

Adverse weather can lead to car crashes. Heavy rain, strong winds, and other environmental factors can cause unsafe driving conditions.

The sun can also create challenges for drivers. Depending on the time of day, the sun might be bright and reflect off the road, buildings, and other objects, causing visibility issues. You can determine whether the weather, or a driver’s failure to adjust for it, contributed to the accident.

Do You Know Who Was in the Accident?

Witnesses are often biased if they know anyone involved in the collision. They might stretch the truth or flat-out lie to help their friend or family member secure compensation. A stranger is likelier to be honest about what they saw and who they believe is at fault.

Did You Hear What Anyone Said After the Crash?

Witnesses might check on the people involved in an accident. They talk to the drivers and passengers to see if they’re injured and need an ambulance. If someone heard a driver admit to running a red light or violating another traffic law, you can use those statements as proof that they should be liable for your injury.

What Were You Doing When You Noticed the Accident?

Distracted witnesses aren’t reliable. Someone you talk to could have been on their phone or shopping in a store when they heard the collision. It’s unlikely the witness will be able to provide accurate details unless they were looking directly at the crash scene.

Where Were You Going When You Realized There Was a Car Crash?

This question can also determine whether the witness was distracted. If they were talking to their friend while walking to a restaurant or driving their vehicle to work when the accident occurred, their attention might have been occupied by another task.

Are You Willing to Put Your Statement in Writing?

A written statement from a witness is evidence. It puts what they say about the accident on record to support your version of events. If they change their story later, their signed statement can show they’re less than credible during trial proceedings.

Can I Have Your Contact Information?

You should get each witness’s name and phone number so you can reach out to them if necessary. The insurance carrier might want to talk to them about what they saw. They can also testify in court if your lawyer wants to use them as a witness during your trial. 

Get Help from an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney in Austin

A skilled personal injury lawyer from Loewy Law Firm knows the questions essential to obtain necessary information from eyewitnesses. We can locate people who saw the accident and discuss the details they remember. We can also determine whether a witness is reliable and will conduct themselves well during a deposition or cross-examination. 

If you were injured in a motor vehicle crash due to someone else’s negligence, call Loewy Law Firm at (512) 957-9858 for a free consultation today. We have fought for injured clients in Texas since 2005. Let us do the same for you.