Every car accident victim needs evidence to prove his or her side of the story. One common piece of evidence in an auto accident case is a statement from an independent witness. A pedestrian’s testimony can easily swing the case from one way to the other. Nonetheless, what do you do when there isn’t a third party witness to the accident? The best way to deal with this situation is to gather as much non-testimonial evidence as possible.
Preserving Evidence on The Spot
Whenever you are involved in a car accident you should immediately try to collect evidence for your case. This can be difficult if you are injured, or trying to manage your emotional state. However, do your best to document the accident in whatever way is convenient to you. This may involve asking a friend or family member to assist you in photographing the accident.
A cell phone or a tablet is an essential tool in an accident situation. Try to photograph or film the scene with your phone. Make sure to get wide angle shots to provide context. Also be sure to photograph blind spots, road obstructions or anything else that may have played a role. Tire marks on the roadway, and the impact areas on the vehicle are also very important.
At the very least, leave your phone’s audio recorder on to capture any conversations. Note that in some jurisdictions you may need to notify other parties before recording them. Overall, any information you can preserve will be important to your car accident attorney.
Even if there are not witnesses involved, the police will complete an accident investigation. Police officers are trained to evaluate the scene of a collision, and make findings based on what they observe. Although most officers are not scientifically trained, their conclusions are still accepted as expert opinion. If the officer’s opinion doesn’t truly represent what happened it may be necessary to get professional legal help from an experienced car accident attorney.
A car accident attorney may call on the help of an accident reconstruction expert. These experts usually have a background in science and engineering. They may also be certified by an accrediting agency such as ACTAR. Their job is to examine an accident scene and any evidence to determine why the collision occurred.
Expert testimony can be highly beneficial in an accident case. Although it is expensive to hire one, an expert can render an opinion that carries a lot of weight in a court of law. Accident reconstruction is particularly helpful when the police report assigns the fault to you. With the help of an expert, you can controvert the findings in the police investigation.
Finding Potential Witnesses
It’s possible there were witnesses to the accident that you did not notice at the time. A car accident attorney may send out a private investigator to the area to locate potential eye witnesses. If there are homes or a shopping center nearby, it’s possible someone inside a nearby building saw the accident. An experienced investigator will canvass the area to find out if anyone observed what happened. In the case a witness is located, the investigator will take a statement and record the person’s contact information. This will make it easier to subpoena the witness if testimony is needed.
No Witnesses Does Not Mean No Case
Although having a witness to the event is preferred, it is not totally necessary. Numerous car accident cases proceed through the lawsuit process without witness statements. What lacking a witness really means is that other evidence will become even more important. An experienced car accident lawyer should be able to effectively advocate for you using whatever evidence is available.
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