Witness statements form the backbone of any legal dispute. There some verdicts that are decided purely based on witness statements. Despite the importance of witness statements in determining legal disputes, not a lot of people are aware of what they are and how they should be prepared. Witness statements are particularly important in car accident cases where determining the at-fault party is not black and white. Nearly 400,000 people are involved in auto accidents in the state of Florida every year. Getting a witness statement is just as important as looking for a car accident lawyer in Evansville.
Requirements for a Witness Statement
The requirements for a witness statement are clearly stipulated in Civil Procedure Rules. This is a complex document. It is important that the attorney you’re working with is aware of the rules in your jurisdiction as they could vary from one state to the other.
Formalities of a Witness Statement
There are some formalities that need to be adhered to when it comes to a witness statement. Some of the formalities include:
- The statement should be written in the first person
- It should be easy to read. The statement can be divided into sections with information presented in chronological order.
- Any alterations to the statement should be clearly stated and signed
- It should clearly stipulate if the witness is part of proceedings
What is the Difference Between a Witness Statement and an Affidavit?
Even though the two are similar for the most part, there is one key difference. For an affidavit, it must be signed in the presence of someone who can take a legal oath. A witness statement, on the other hand, can only be signed by the person who made it in the first place.
Witness Statements and Exhibits
There could be a number of exhibits in a car accident case. They can take the form of pictures or videos, or they can also include witness statements which can be used as a point of reference.
Getting Witness Statements After a Car Accident
This can be challenging if you did not interact with anyone after the accident. Even though there are no laws that oblige you to speak to witnesses after an accident, it is important to reach out to them and take their contact information. You can even ask them questions on the spot about the details of the accident. Have your recorder on when asking these important questions as they could be used as witness statements provided they’re verifiable.
Witness accounts can make a big difference in front of a grand jury. When interacting with the witness, make sure to write down their name, address, and contact information. Record or write down what they saw when the accident was happening. Even though the judges might not put a lot of weight on the witness statement, you can be assured that they won’t doubt the credibility of your claim. It is important that the witness signs and dates every page of their witness statement for the purposes of consistency and credibility. Here are some of the reasons why witness statements are important for a car accident case.
Confirmation of Facts
It is not uncommon for the defendant to question your statements. They will want the jury to believe that your side of the story is fabricated and you’re only doing so out of self-interest. With a witness statement, you can match your version of events with the facts. A witness to the accident will have no interest in the case whatsoever and will likely be impartial. You will rely on their statement to convince the court that it is the other party that is at fault.
You will obviously have your own version of events and what transpired on the day of the accident. There is also a chance that the accident might have happened so fast and the parties involved are not sure what exactly happened. You might have suffered a head injury because of the accident and it will be difficult to recall the details. There is a chance that the witness might have noted or seen things that were not obvious to those involved in the accident.
Witness statements can help in determining the at-fault party in a personal injury case. This will be crucial when both parties involved can’t seem to agree on who is at fault for an auto accident. A witness might have seen the other driver looking at their phone or disobeying traffic lights at the time of the accident. Their statement will help in establishing that it is the other driver who is at fault for the accident.
Settling The Case
A witness statement will carry a lot of weight if it is factual and persuasive. It might be all you need in order for the case to be decided in your favor. As we’ve already mentioned, the statement will help in determining who is at fault and in confirming the facts of the case.
Going to Trial
The parties involved might fail to come to an amicable solution on their own. This means the case will have to go to trial. Having reliable witness statements will give you more confidence in winning the case even if it goes to trial.
Working With a Reliable Car Accident Attorney
You could have credible witness statements but still fail to get maximum compensation because of the attorney that you’re working with. You should have a reliable car accident lawyer by your side when claiming damages. They will know how to prepare the witness statements so that they can help with your case. Getting a good attorney can be a challenging endeavor. Doing your due diligence is necessary as you don’t want to work with just anyone. You should look at how many years experience the attorney has in practice cases that are similar to yours before you make a decision.