Car accidents in the U.S. are pretty common, and, logically, most of them happen in busy cities like Los Angeles. Californians are known for always being in a rush, and this state of mind often leads to traffic collisions. However, whether you've ever experienced a car accident before or not, there are a few steps to take to ensure the safety and safety of all other car crash participants.
Your first step should be calling the police and checking if you or anyone else suffered injuries. If so, then contact an ambulance so you can receive medical attention. Once you get checked out, you should collect other driver's personal and insurance information and take photos of the accident scene.
However, unless it is evident that the accident was your fault, it would be worth your time to search for a witness. Having a witness confirm what happened can help you, and your car accident attorney prove that you were not liable for the accident.
In California, not being liable in a car accident means you are entitled to compensation that can help you cover car repairs, medical bills, and so much more. Still, what do you ask a witness? Let's find out.
1. Can you describe what happened in your own words?
The chances are your witness will already be approached by a first responder (EMT, police, firefighter) and ask them the same question while the memory is still fresh in their minds. Contacting your witness to get a statement yourself is also vital. However, make sure none of your questions are leading the witness on.
Instead of asking ''The other driver did nothing to avoid the accident, is that correct?'' ask them if there were any signs that the other driver tried to maneuver or avoid your vehicle.
For example, instead of asking ''The other driver did nothing to avoid the accident, is that correct?'' ask them if there were any signs that the other driver tried to maneuver or avoid your vehicle.
Also, ask the witness what else they saw or heard at the time of the accident or if any other car contributed to your accident.
If your witness is struggling to find a way to describe the accident but is nonetheless willing to do so, you can help them out by asking the following questions:
- Can you describe where each of the vehicles was located before the accident? For example, start by describing who was in what lane.
- Was any of the vehicles moving aggressively or erratically prior to the accident?
- Did it appear that any of the drivers were speeding and, if yes, which one?
- Did you see or hear any of the two drivers trying to brake suddenly?
- Can you estimate how much time passed from the first sign of commotion up until the actual crash?
- Did you notice the traffic signs, and if any drivers ran a red light or were speeding through a yellow light?
- Did you notice debris falling off the car on impact?
- Did you see what other drivers were doing after the accident? Did you hear what they were saying? Did any of the drivers appear intoxicated or injured?
2. Where Were You at The Time of The Accident?
Learning the precise location of the witness just before your crash can help you reconstruct the crash scene successfully. Try to place each of your witnesses and take note of everything they noticed.
Once you have all of the information, the picture becomes complete and helps you and your personal injury attorney understand what happened and prove it.
3. Do you have any other important information about the accident?
When you ask a question like this one, it helps your witness remember the little details of the accident, and in most cases, they present some pretty valuable information.
For example, while the police focus on the vehicle trajectory, signalization, and other crash-related facts, your witness can tell you if the other driver was using a phone shortly before the crash. This is usually really hard to prove without a witness.
They may also tell you if the other driver seemed intoxicated or what they said immediately after the crash.
4. Can You Give Me Your Contact Information?
Getting witness contact information is really important for you but try not to push it. It is up to the witness if they want to be ''dragged'' further into your claim.
Make sure to explain to them that if they give you their contact information, they can expect to be contacted by your attorney and insurance adjuster or even be called to provide a statement under oath (deposition).