According to the NYPD, there were 37,036 total car crashes in 2022, with 49,458 injuries and 262 fatalities. That’s over 100 crashes a day on average within the city limits, making it difficult for police and insurers to keep up with reports and claims. If you are in a car accident in New York City, it is very helpful to have at least one car accident witness to give testimony for your case.
Adam Sattler, an experienced New York car accident lawyer explains why having a witness for your insurance claim is essential to support your claim with your insurance adjuster. Learn more about why having a witness is so important for your claim or personal injury case.
Who Can Be a Witness to a Car Accident?
You can call upon several types of witnesses for your insurance claim or accident case:
- Independent witnesses. Other drivers, pedestrians, or bicyclists who saw the accident happen can help you build a solid case for your claim.
- Expert witnesses. If you don’t have any independent witnesses for your case, an expert witness like an accident reconstruction professional can testify in court to describe the events of the accident based on physical evidence and security footage from nearby cameras.
- Medical professionals. The medical responders who treat your injuries can describe the severity of your injuries and how each injury resulted from the accident.
- Nonhuman witnesses. Cameras are everywhere. It’s very unlikely that your accident occurred in a location that didn’t have a camera posted nearby. Footage from security cameras, dash cams, or cell phones may be admissible in your case.
Ideally, a person who saw the accident from a safe distance and can make a statement for the police report and insurance claim. Some of the benefits of having a car accident witness include the following.
1. A Credible Witness Can Support Your Claim
When you and any other drivers involved in an accident submit your statements for the police report, there is likely to be some bias in each of your statements. A third-party witness corroborating your side of the story lends credibility to your claim with the police and insurance adjuster.
2. Witnesses Offer Different Points of View
A car accident witness sees things from outside the chaos of the accident. Where you and the other driver could be being rattled around inside your vehicles at the time of the collision, a witness could be standing on a curb a safe distance away. They might also notice the at-fault driver behaving erratically before approaching the intersection or driving much faster than the posted speed limit before the crash.
3. A Witness Can Help Determine Fault for the Accident
Because of the witness’s view of the accident from outside of the accident zone, they may be able to help the insurance company or court determine that the other driver was at fault for the accident and for the severity of your injuries.
For example, if the witness saw the negligent driver speed up to race through a light that just turned yellow before they hit you, that could help the court determine a higher share of negligence in court.
4. Witnesses Can Provide Information About Injuries at the Scene
A witness can confirm whether they saw signs of certain injuries to your person from broken glass, head trauma, broken bones, or other injuries. Insurance companies often try to devalue claims by suggesting that some of your injuries weren’t from the accident but occurred later. A witness can corroborate your statements and confirm that they saw signs of your injuries at the scene.
How to Record a Witness Statement at the Scene of the Accident
If your injuries don’t require that you leave in an ambulance, look around for anyone nearby who may have seen the accident. Ask them to stay long enough to give police their statement when the police arrive to take statements for the police report.
If they can’t stay, ask them for their contact information so they can give a statement later. Witnesses don’t have to stay at the scene of the accident, so be sure you can contact them to write down their version of events before their memory fades.
How a Car Accident Attorney in NY Can Use Witness Testimony in Your Case
New York is a pure comparative negligence state. If the jury finds you partially responsible for your own injuries, such as if you weren’t wearing your seatbelt at the time of the accident and hit your head on the steering wheel, the court will reduce your award by the amount that it finds you responsible for your own injuries.
Your car accident attorney can use witness statements to help reconstruct the events of the accident and create a simulation to demonstrate how the other driver’s negligence led to your injuries.
Contact an Auto Accident Attorney in NY for Your Car Accident Case
Finding a car accident witness for your case can help you build a strong claim within the three-year statute of limitations to determine the events of the accident and maximize your settlement.
When should you get a car accident lawyer in New York? The sooner, the better.
Contact Sattler Law Group, P.C,. for a New York car accident case. Call us 24/7 at (914) 239-4900 or contact us online to schedule a consultation.