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Do I Need a Witness for My Motor Vehicle Accident Claim?

March 09, 2020

Strictly speaking, if no one besides yourself can confirm that the other party in an accident was at fault, then you do not have a case in your personal injury claim. While having a witness can help your claim, it is not necessary that a third party (not involved in the accident) confirm your version of events related to the accident.

There are many different witnesses who naturally respond to a car accident. These witnesses exist to confirm who was responsible for the accident and the severity of your injuries. If you or someone you love has been injured in a motor vehicle accident in the state of Indiana, it is vital that you speak with an experienced personal injury attorney to help you collect witness testimony.

Witnesses on the Scene

If anyone has been injured in a car wreck, there will be witnesses. Some are required by law to respond to injuries in an accident, and others may volunteer assistance and provide observations regarding the cause of the accident.

Third Party Observers

In Indiana, people who witness a car accident are not required to stop and assist unless they are directly involved in the accident. However, many third party individuals who witness an accident will stop by their own accord and try to assist anyone injured on the scene. They may even take it upon themselves to give a statement to the police when they arrive. 

If you notice non-involved, third party observers volunteering to help those who have been injured, it is a good idea to ask for their names and contact information. Having witnesses who can testify that the other party was at fault for the accident can help your personal injury claim.

Drivers Involved

Whoever is involved in a car accident must stop and find out if anyone was hurt. All drivers should do their best to move their motor vehicles so as not to impede traffic. Anyone involved in a car wreck who does not stop to help the injured are violating Indiana state law. If you or someone you love are involved in a motor vehicle accident where the other driver did not stop, then you should report the color, make, and model of their vehicle, along with their license plate number, to police. To leave the scene of an accident is called a “hit and run” and is a crime.

Responding Police Officer

The police officer who arrives on the scene after a motor vehicle accident must take statements and determine who was at fault for the accident. That’s why it is important that you get a copy of the police report after the accident.

Because Indiana is a comparative negligence state, the officer may find both (or all) drivers at fault for the accident. In the case of comparative negligence, each driver is assigned a percentage of negligence contributing to the accident. If you’ve been found to be over 50% at fault, then you will not be able to file a personal injury claim. 

Expert Testimony

It is important that you seek medical attention after an accident. Your doctors will be able to provide evidence of your injuries. You should collect receipts and track all costs associated with your injuries (including lost wages). If you wait too long to see a physician, then the other party could make a case that you received your injuries after the accident.

In the Case of Preexisting Conditions

It may be that you were injured in a motor vehicle accident and were already suffering from preexisting injuries and conditions. Treating doctors are not usually able to provide a complete analysis in this case. However, your personal injury attorney can help you solicit necessary expert witness testimony to confirm that regardless of your pre-existing injuries, the at-fault driver is responsible for the current nature of your injuries.  

For more information about how an Indiana attorney can help you with your motor vehicle accident case, contact Stewart & Stewart Attorneys at 800-333-3529 or visit our website.