Getting Witness Information after a Car Crash
Right after being hit in an automobile accident the last thing you’re probably thinking about is getting name and contact information of witnesses to the crash. However, that is exactly when you want to do it if you can. And, really it is not that hard.
All you need to do is think ahead and get a small notepad (lots of places hand them out free) and a half a dozen pencils (old ones will do just fine). Put the pad and pencils in an envelope in your glove box. You’re done. You just prepared yourself a kit that you can grab in case you are in a wreck. Now, if you are in a wreck or you witness one, even if you are shaken up, you can remember to hand some paper and a pencil to a witness and ask them to write down their contact information for you. Professional drivers always have such kits. Sometime they even put a disposable camera in the glove box to use to snap photos.
Getting witness info is critical. For example, we recently handled a case for a person who was in a car accident and was kindly helped afterwards by a witness. Unfortunately, that witness’ name was not obtained by our client. Nor did their name make it into the police report. So now there is no way of knowing who that person is and their valuable insight into what happened is now lost.
Investigating police officers who arrive at the scene after the accident do not always take down witnesses’ names or statements. A trial can become a game of he-said-she-said with your statement at odds with the defendant’s statement of how the accident occurred. A good witness’ statement could mean the difference between winning and losing your case.
Ideally, you should try to get a witness’s full name and contact information (such as the address and phone number). It’s easy if the witness has a business card. But, if not, just grab your envelop with the notepad and pencils and you’ve got all you need to get the necessary info your attorney will need.