A Guide for Personal Injury Claim Witnesses
Some people shy away when they have seen an accident where someone is injured, maybe be because they feel it’s not their role or because they think someone else will step in and help out, but often it is because they worry they don’t know what is the right thing to do. Unfortunately for the victim, this lack of support from passers-by can mean that they fail to get justice because no one is willing to come forward to provide an independent, objective account of what happened.
What is a Witness?
A witness is someone who sees an accident happen but is not involved. Witnesses may be someone who knows either the perpetrator or the victim, or completely independent – just a bystander who happened to be there at the time and saw what was going on. Independent witness statements can be hugely important in determining the cause of an accident as they are normally objective and unbiased.
Witnesses who were involved in the accident, for example, a passenger in a car where the driver was injured, are still important. However, because they have had the trauma of involvement, their perspective or memory may not be as clear as an independent witness such as a pedestrian who saw the accident from their vantage point on the footpath.
What is a Witness Statement
A witness statement is simply a factual verbal or written account of what the witness saw of an accident, including the lead-up and aftermath. A client’s solicitor will contact witnesses and ask for their version of the facts. They will draft this into a written statement for the witness to read and sign before it is submitted with other documented evidence to support their claim, if they are the claimant, or to show liability may be shared if they are the defendant.
There are rare occasions when witnesses may be called to give evidence in court. However, given that the vast majority of compensation claims settled out of court, the likelihood that will happen is slim. The party who calls the witness will typically request the witnesses expenses such as mileage or reasonable travel expenses, childcare, meals and snacks, and loss of earnings, are paid.
The Importance of Getting Witness Details
A witness statement could make the difference between you obtaining maximum compensation or only having a reduced proportion because you have been forced to split liability, so it is important to get the contact details of any witnesses who were at the scene of the accident if possible. Not all witnesses may be credible. For example, another driver at a junction may have seen the impact of a crash but had their head turned in the lead up to it. Likewise, a pedestrian may only have seen the lead up to the crash but had their vision blocked by a lorry during the impact.
The best most credible witness is one who sees the complete accident, including the moments before it occurred, who was not distracted at any point, who has good eyesight and hearing, and who has no association with any of the parties involved.
If you have a question about witnesses, or you want to know anything else about making a compensation claim, contact The Compensation Experts today.
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Am I eligible?
If you have been harmed physically in the last 3 years, due to someone else’s negligence, the short answer is yes.
Exceptions to this are for instance industrial disease or if you were a child at the time of the accident you may have a longer period to claim.
How much could I claim?
As every injury is different, the amount of compensation paid out can differ case to case. Varying factors lead to the final figure include: extent of your injuries, earnings missed out on, future losses and more.
Our dedicated team of experts will give you an indication of how much you could potentially claim for.
How does the process work?
We understand that when making a claim it’s important to know what to expect and when to expect it. That’s why we make the process as transparent & clear as possible.
Your solicitor will gather all the evidence and will notify the negligent party that you wish to begin claim proceedings. With your solicitor negotiating on your behalf, you will be keep up to date every step of the way.
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