Hello, my name is Robert Mansour and today I want to discuss the importance of witnesses when it comes to automobile accidents, especially if there is no police report, and especially if liability is disputed. Both parties are arguing that it was the other person's fault. If you have a he said, she said, or he said, he said, or whatever number you want to come up with, whatever variable, but the point is, when you have disputed liability, the testimony or position of an independent witness can make or break the case. So, if you have somebody who comes up to you after an accident and says, "Here, here's my business card, I saw the whole thing, I think the other party was at fault." If you don't have a police report, then you should really try to get the statement from that independent witness.
Now, your lawyer can do that by hiring an investigator to go interview that witness. The insurance company might also be willing to interview the witness especially if the witness is helpful to you and you're talking with your company. After all your company may be on your side oftentimes, and they may pay out to fix your car and then they want to go after the other party for reimbursement, in which case they're going to want that witnesses statement to tip the scales in their favor.
But here's the thing regarding witnesses, a lot of times in my experience, I have found that witnesses are very cooperative in the very beginning. They're willing to take a few phone calls here and there, talk to this adjuster from this company, this other adjuster, maybe an investigator, but after that, their patience wears thin. And in my experience, the longer it takes after the accident, the more times that witness is contacted, the less likely they are to cooperate. Sometimes we will even issue subpoenas to witnesses and they just will ignore them. They won't even show up. Why? Because they're just tired of talking to people about the accident.
Now, of course you can compel them to come to court, the judge can issue a warrant for them, but do you think they're going to be very happy about that? Do you think they're going to want to cooperate with your side of the case if you drag them into court unwillingly? So, the trick with witnesses is to get their testimony down on paper in an interview format that's very solid so that you can use it later on if you need to. And once again, if that witness has been interviewed by a lot of people, they will become less and less cooperative as time goes on and as the days and weeks and months transpire from the date of the accident. Anyway, I hope you found this tip helpful regarding capturing witness testimony early on in your personal injury case. Thank you very much for watching.
by Robert Mansour
Robert Mansour is a personal injury lawyer serving Santa Clarita, Valencia, Saugus, Canyon Country, Newhall, Stevenson Ranch, Castaic and surrounding communities.