What is a witness?
A witness is defined as anyone who was at the scene of the accident who saw what happened. However, this excludes the drivers of the vehicles and/or pedestrians involved in the accident. Although this definition seems relatively simple, testifying as a witness is not a straightforward process. Our vehicle accident attorneys know you’re going through a difficult time after an accident. However, in order to help your case, you need to get contact information from any witnesses at the scene.
If you have been injured in an accident due to the negligence of another individual, it may be beneficial to have a witness. On the other hand, if you were at fault for the accident, a witness will not be your friend. Either way, it’s helpful to understand who can qualify as a witness and how credibility will be determined.
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The first question that will be asked of the witness is where they were at the time of the accident. This helps to determine credibility of the witness. Passengers of the vehicles involved can be considered witnesses, as long as they can prove that they are not biased. However, usually the witnesses were either in surrounding cars or pedestrians in the area. It is important that a witness sees the cars before, during, and after the accident. Often, a pedestrian’s attention is drawn to the accident because of the sound of impact. If this is the case, and they were not looking at the cars or the scene of the accident before it happened, their credibility is diminished.
Secondly, they must not have been distracted. This usually rules out other drivers. When a driver witnesses an accident, their main priority is keeping themselves safe, meaning that they are not focused completely on the details of the accident. This also applies to pedestrians that are not at a safe distance from the accident. If a pedestrian had a child or a pet with them, even if they were at a safe distance, they also may not qualify because they were distracted taking care of this child or pet. All in all, usually a person has to be 100 percent focused on the entire accident from a safe distance to be considered a witness.
After these details have been determined, the person’s health and mental state will also be questioned. Do they have any hearing or vision impairments? Are they mentally stable? The person’s legal record may also be questioned as well. If the person was intoxicated or under the influence of drugs, they may be disqualified.
Witnesses can play a pivotal role in determining who was at fault for the accident, but only if they are deemed credible and unbiased. The process can be long and confusing, but the result can be very beneficial when proceeding with the case.
If you have any further questions regarding witnessing an accident, or if you or a loved one have been injured in a car accident in the Wichita, Kansas, area, contact the experienced vehicle accident attorneys at Lee Gurney today.