In fault-based insurance states like Texas, it matters who caused a car accident. Unlike the handful of no-fault insurance states where accident victims file claims against their own insurance policies, in fault-based insurance systems, it’s necessary to investigate an accident to determine its cause. The at-fault driver is responsible for damages, including property damage and personal injury compensation, typically paid through their auto insurance liability coverage. However, often the driver at fault tries to deny that they caused the accident, or their insurance company may attempt to assign an injury victim a portion of the blame in order to minimize the amount of compensation they must pay out on the claim. In a comparative fault system, the amount of compensation insurance companies pay out for damages is minus the injury victim’s percentage of fault.
A critical part of a car accident case is investigating the accident to prove liability on the part of the driver at fault. Key evidence in a car accident case is often witness testimony.
Eyewitness Testimony in a Car Accident Claim
Sometimes traffic cameras, dashcam videos, or nearby store or home surveillance cameras capture a car accident on video, making it easy to prove the cause of the accident. However, not every driver has a dashcam, and traffic camera footage is only available in some urban areas. When there is no video evidence in a car accident case, eyewitness testimony is the next best thing.
The first eyewitnesses to an accident are the drivers and passengers inside the vehicles—known as first-party witnesses. Though first-party witness descriptions of the accident can be enlightening and powerful, unfortunately, there’s often conflicting testimony and sometimes vague recollections. Traumatic events may cause partial memory loss. First-party witnesses also have biased viewpoints.
Other eyewitnesses may include nearby drivers, pedestrians, and bystanders. These are third-party witnesses. Eyewitness testimony from unbiased third parties is extremely helpful in proving fault in an accident case. These eyewitnesses are impartial observers and typically have more reliable memories of the accident compared to those inside the vehicles.
How to Get Eyewitness Testimony
When the police arrive at the accident scene, they speak to any bystanders or people near the accident location to ask them questions about what they witnessed. Officers record the statements as third-party evidence and collect contact information. Eyewitnesses to the accident describe what they saw and offer important insight into how the accident occurred and who was at fault. It’s especially helpful when multiple eyewitnesses report the same set of circumstances when describing an accident.
Eyewitnesses sometimes offer other important information, such as hearing one driver admit fault immediately after the accident. A diligent accident attorney investigates an accident to prove liability, often reading eyewitness statements from the police report, speaking to the eyewitnesses personally, or asking them to testify in court if the case becomes a car accident lawsuit in McKinney. Eyewitness statements sometimes become the deciding factor in car accident cases.
Expert Witnesses in a Car Accident Case
Besides eyewitnesses to an accident, attorneys sometimes require expert witnesses to help prove fault in a car accident. Examples of expert witnesses include:
- Accident reconstruction experts who break down the sequence of accident events to prove fault
- Medical experts who testify about the extent of the victim’s injuries, the amount of monetary damages involved in their treatment, the pain and suffering the injury victim is likely experiencing, and the victim’s prognosis for the future
These expert witnesses can be critical to a car accident case to prove both fault and damages to maximize the amount of compensation the victim may recover.
If you have questions regarding a car accident claim in McKinney, Texas, contact Carew Garcia Bohuslav Law for a free consultation today.