How Important Are Eye Witness Statements For Your Personal Injury Case?

importance eye witness statements personal injury case

When you have just been through a harrowing experience that injured you and nearly brought you to the brink of death, it may take you some time to collect yourself. However, you should learn to collect yourself as quickly as possible and then begin writing down everything you can remember about any witnesses that were present. 

This is important to your personal injury case, as any Richmond personal injury lawyer will tell you. If you are not certain if you should even ask your witnesses to come forward and speak on your behalf, you should know just how really important eyewitnesses are to a personal injury case. 

Eyewitnesses Confirm Your Side Of The Story 

The worst personal injury cases are those where you are injured, and literally no one else was around. While you can file a personal injury claim for things like slipping and falling on ice in a parking lot, if no one else saw it and it wasn't caught on camera it will be very difficult to prove. The best you can hope for is that the judge will hear your case anyway and determine that your medical bills should be paid by the owner of the property. 

The second worst personal injury cases are those with only the "he said/she said" scenarios. One person hurt another, and nobody was around to see what really happened. Based only on physical evidence, police reports (when and if available), and/or medical reports (when and if available) is all the judge has to make a determination and ruling in cases where there are no eyewitnesses. Such cases do not usually end well for the plaintiff (i.e., the person filing the lawsuit/complaint). 

Having one or more eyewitnesses means that these people saw what happened. They can confirm the details of what transpired, at least from their vantage points. If your personal injury was the result of a car accident, the eyewitnesses can at least confirm that you were struck by the other driver in the way that you claim, even if something else was happening simultaneously inside your vehicle. 

When a vehicle is not involved but there are still witnesses, it helps to know what they saw. You can talk to them during or right after the accident if they are willing to talk about the incident with you. Witnesses that seem particularly helpful (e.g., they stay with you until help arrives, offer to call people for you, etc.,) may also help you with your lawsuit. 

Lies Told By The Defendant Are Unraveled By Eyewitnesses 

People at fault do not always do the right thing. They may refuse to accept responsibility in your personal injury and/or they may lie their way through a lawsuit. While it is possible to just have that bad of a memory of what happened, you have to always accept that that person may be lying. An eyewitness to the event can unravel any tall tales and sort out any false memories from the real memories by relating what he/she saw. 

Lies are told in court, despite what you want to believe about how court requires only the truth. There is nothing that prevents someone from lying in court, and no real way to reveal a lie without witness testimony

If you have at least one witness, it can mean the difference between winning and losing your case completely. 

When You Don't See A Doctor Or Go To The Hospital, Witnesses Can Relay What They See Later 

For the sake of argument, let's say that your personal injury occurred at work. Maybe it was painful enough that your boss sent you home, but you did not go see a doctor or report to the emergency room. If you were not bleeding, you might be inclined to avoid the medical bill, but then proving your case will be difficult. 

Your fellow employees that witnessed the event may be able to tell the following day or days that something still is not right with your injured body part(s). A lot of personal injuries develop slowly and result in major medical issues later. When that happens, you will need the testimony of your fellow employees to tell the court about how you were acting after the accident. 

Limping, not being able to use your arm or hand, not being able to see clearly, having a throbbing headache that doesn't go away, etc., are all post-injury signs that something is worse than it appears to be. These things are often noticed by the people you work with. 

Waiting to file a lawsuit often brings into question why you didn't file immediately and/or whether or not your injuries were as serious as you claim. This is exactly where your fellow employees' testimony becomes eyewitness statements to support your lawsuit. 

Unwilling Eyewitnesses Do Not Have to Appear 

While it may prove frustrating, witnesses do not have to appear in person. In fact, witness statements are often enough, especially if the witness statements were taken by a police officer. However, if the police report appears to reflect some discrepancies, a witness can be contacted and/or subpoenaed to give his/her full and unabridged account of the events he/she witnessed. The lawyer may choose to do this a number of ways depending on what is legally accepted by the courts. 

Your Richmond personal injury lawyer may write down what the witness states or ask the witness to allow his/her testimony to be recorded and used in the case. 

Regardless of how you get the witnesses to provide testimony, it can still be a huge help to your case. When your injuries are severe enough to limit your mobility and ability to work, eyewitnesses can completely save the day and save your financial life. 

If and when you are ready to pursue your case, make sure your witnesses (or at least one witness!) is on board and willing to help you.

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