Questions for Car Accident Witnesses

If you or somebody you care about has ever been involved in a car accident, then you likely understand the importance of speaking to witnesses after the incident occurs. In order to determine liability for a car accident claim, insurance carriers and attorneys will use various types of evidence. Eyewitness statements are one type of evidence used to figure out what happened and determine who may have been at fault. Here, we want to discuss some of the questions that should be asked of witnesses in the aftermath of a car accident. Even if you have not been involved in a collision, just knowing this information could save time if a crash does occur.

What to Ask a Car Accident Witness

We understand that there is so much going on after a car accident occurs, which is why we always recommend that those involved get the names and contact information of eyewitnesses while they are still at the scene of the incident. After a witness leaves, it will be nearly impossible to contact them if nobody got their contact information. Here, we want to give some of the most common questions that witnesses need to be asked either by you or your attorney when working to determine what happened.

1.      Can you tell me how the accident occurred, in your own words?

This will give you an opportunity to listen to an eyewitness give their account of the events in their own words. They might bring up things that you would not have thought to ask.

2.      What caught your attention and made you look towards the accident?

It will be helpful to know what caught the eyewitnesses’ attention in the first place. This is particularly important when working to determine whether or not the witness was looking in the direction of the accident when it occurred or whether they looked after they heard the impact. If they looked after the impact, and it is unlikely that they saw how the incident occurred.

3.      In your opinion, how did the crash occur?

This is an open-ended type of question designed to get the witness to tell as much information as possible about the incident.

4.      Can you go into detail about the crash?

You want to get as much detail as possible from any eyewitness. This can include having them tell you the following:

  • The weather at the time the incident occurred
  • Traffic conditions when the incident occurred
  • What lane each vehicle was in
  • How fast each vehicle was traveling
  • How quickly the accident occurred
  • What the various parties did after the accident
  • What type of debris there was around the scene

5.      Where were you when the crash occurred?

You want to know whether or not the eyewitness was a pedestrian or an occupant in another vehicle. This will help determine what direction they were likely looking when the crash occurred.

6.      How far away were you from the crash?

Not all eyewitnesses to a crash will necessarily have been in a good position to observe the crash. If you can find out how far away they were from the incident, this can help determine whether or not their observations are reliable.

7.      Who was with you when the crash occurred?

If you ask about others who may have been with the eyewitness at the time of the incident occurs, you are potentially getting more eyewitnesses who can back up these statements and bolstering your claim.

8.      What did you do after the crash?

You can ask an eyewitness what they did after the crash in order to gain more information about the incident. For example, if they ran to the vehicles to administer first aid, they may be able to tell you what people were saying right after the incident (including admissions of fault from other parties).

If you or somebody you care about has been injured in a car accident caused by the negligence of another driver, you need to seek assistance from a skilled Orange County car accident lawyer as soon as possible. An attorney can handle every aspect of the claim on your behalf, including speaking to any eyewitnesses about what they saw.