How Witness Statements Can Help Make Your Case
Often, in a personal injury claim, most of the evidence comes from the parties involved—the person who suffered the injury and the one who allegedly caused it. In many situations, though, it can be difficult to determine what actually happened. It’s not uncommon for witnesses to move or die before a case goes to trial, and memories become less clear as time goes by. Occasionally, a witness’s recollection will change dramatically between the time of the accident and the trial. Additionally, the cause of an accident can be complex, requiring the testimony of an expert witness.
One of the best ways to protect yourself in a personal injury claim is to obtain a signed witness statement as early as possible.
The Different Types of Witnesses
In a personal injury lawsuit, there can be a number of potential witnesses:
- Eyewitnesses – These are people who actually observed something related to the case. Those observations can relate to events leading up to the accident, or the events of the actual accident as it occurred, or the day-to-day impact your injuries have had on your life. Anyone who observed facts related to the case can give eyewitness testimony, but testimony from objective, unrelated parties typically is more credible.
- Expert witnesses – These are individuals with special knowledge who can help jurors understand complicated scientific, medical, financial, or other issues. Expert witnesses include accident reconstruction specialists, medical professionals, engineers, and financial projections specialists. Before a person can give expert witness testimony, they must be qualified as an expert by the court.
- Familiar witnesses – These are people who know you well—usually family or friends—and can testify regarding the physical, emotional, and financial impacts the personal injury has had on your life.
The Benefits of Witness Statements
Getting signed witness statements as soon as possible has many potential upsides:
- Witness statements preserve the facts as accurately as possible – Memories are most keen in the immediate aftermath of the accident and tend to fade as weeks and months go by. An accurate account of what happened, gathered right after the accident, can be a reliable trigger when recollections start to get fuzzy.
- Witnesses can provide a level of objectivity – It’s a natural inclination to interpret and describe an event in a light most favorable to our own interests. Witness accounts not only help preserve the facts but also tend to carry more weight with juries, provided the witnesses are perceived as neutral.
- Witness statements can help determine liability – Often, a bystander will have a clearer view of the circumstances leading to an accident than the parties involved or may observe something that makes responsibility clearer.
- Witness statements can help you get the outcome you want more quickly – If you have compelling witness statements, chances are good that the person who caused your accident won’t want them heard by a jury, which means they’ll be more likely to offer a reasonable settlement. Even if they don’t, you’ll still have the witness statements, which can be read into evidence at trial.
Contact the Proven Personal Injury Lawyers at Bailey & Galyen
At the law office of Bailey & Galyen, we know that a personal injury can change your life in an instant. For an appointment with an experienced personal injury attorney, contact us by e-mail or call our offices at 844-402-2992. Our phones are answered 24 hours a day, seven days a week.