When a car accident involves two or more vehicles and the only witnesses are the people involved in the accident, then it can sometimes be difficult to determine who was at fault. Having an unbiased, “third-party” witness, someone who saw the accident happen but who wasn’t involved in the accident, can be crucial to the success of car accident claims. Having a car accident witness can:
- Clear up any disputes or discrepancies about how the accident happened
- Affect the insurance company’s decision to pay a claim
When auto accidents occur, no-one wants to admit they were the driver at fault. And in some cases, each driver will point the blame at the other. For example, if two cars are crossing through an intersection at the same time and crash into each other, then each driver may claim to have had the green light. Without the benefit of cameras or a non-biased witness, it can be difficult to determine who really had the green light to cross through the intersection.
What to do at the Scene of a Car Accident
If you are involved in an auto accident it is important to try to gather as much information as possible at the scene.
- Call the police. They will ask each driver how the accident happened and will create a written report of events. A problem may arise if one of the drivers is unable to provide their version of events. For example, what if the impact of the crash caused a driver to lose consciousness? In these situations, when the driver awakens, he/she may be dazed & confused and not realize what happened, or they may have been taken immediately to the hospital, leaving them unable to give an accurate statement to the officer. This can be a problem if the two drivers have two different versions and dispute what happened. A witness to the event could clear up any disputes or discrepancies.
- Take photos of the vehicles, any skid marks, debris, and relevant surroundings.
- Get the name & number of any witnesses to the accident.
- Never admit fault.
- Provide only the facts of the accident. For example, if you were turning left and someone hit your vehicle then give only those facts. The responding officer may be wearing a body cam or have a dash cam that records whatever is said at the scene of the accident. These recordings can be obtained and viewed by the insurance company. You don’t want to say something in the heat of the moment that could be considered an admission of fault that could be used against you by the insurance company.
The Importance of Witnesses in Auto Accident Cases
When there are discrepancies in car accident cases, or when there are competing versions of what happened, insurance companies may use that to their advantage. They may:
- Deny the Claim – They may say their insured was not the at-fault driver and they refuse to pay for any property damage or injury claims to the other driver.
- Assign only partial blame to their insured – In Georgia, this would likely result in the insurance company paying for only a portion of the property damage and/or injuries to the other driver.
Having a witness to clear up any disputes may induce the insurance company into paying a claim that they otherwise may have denied or only been willing to accept partial blame.
Disputing the Insurance Company Decision
If you are disputing fault in an automobile accident there are some things you can do to help your case:
- Immediately notify the insurance company that you dispute their finding of fault. This should be done with a phone call & a follow-up written letter.
- If the police report is inaccurate then you can call the responding officer and try to get the police report revised. Sometimes, officers make mistakes when writing up the report. For example, maybe they mixed up which driver was driving the at-fault vehicle.
- If there are witnesses, call them & see if they are willing to give a statement of how they saw the accident occur.
Car Accident Lawyer Macon, GA
If you were injured in a car accident that was not your fault, you should consider talking with a car accident lawyer. Gautreaux Law is experienced dealing with insurance adjustors and will do what is necessary to ensure that you are fully compensated for your injuries. Contact us today for a free consultation.