After a car accident happens or when some other sort of accident occurs causing you to be injured, there may be a few witnesses who will corroborate your side of the story. So, what do you do now? This article will discuss what to do with regard to having witnesses to your accident as well as how to best obtain witness contact information.
Simply mentioning in your demand letter that you have witnesses who can corroborate your version of events leading up to the accident, may not be enough to convince the insurance company that you can prove the other side was at fault for the accident. This is especially true where you have attached written witness statements along with your discussion of liability in the demand letter. An insurance adjuster may ask you for the names and addresses of your witnesses so as to speak to them directly. If you have mentioned that you have witnesses, it is pointless to refuse to provide the identity and contact information of your witnesses to the insurance company. Refusing to give the insurance company the name and address of a witness or refusing the witness to contact the insurance company will appear to be an unreasonable lack of cooperation which will result in suspicion and skepticism from the insurance company and may undercut the value of having the witness.
There are some instances where a witness does not want to speak to an insurance company and that is their right. Unless there is a formal lawsuit with a subpoena issued by a court, the witness does not have to. Further, if a witness has instructed you not to give out his or her identity to the insurance company, you need to tell that to the adjuster. However, if a witness refuses to speak to the adjuster, the adjuster is most likely not going to give much weight to what the witness claims to have seen and basically makes that witness useless for the settlement negotiation process.
A witness who agrees to speak with the insurance company has the right to control where, when and how that contact takes place. A witness can exercise control in some of the following ways:
- By deciding to contact the insurance adjuster instead of having his or her phone number given out
- By declining to give a written statement
- The witness does not have to be interviewed in person
- The witness does not have to agree to the interview being recorded. This is usually in your best interests that such an interview is not recorded
- The witness does not have to sign any statement that is drawn up by the adjuster
- The witness does not have to return to the scene with the adjuster or anyone else
- He or she has the discretion to withhold giving any more personal information to anyone
- Once the witness has spoken to the adjuster, the witness does not have to speak with anyone else from the insurance company or repeat the conversation with the adjuster.
With respect to how best to handle accidents involving trucks, seek out truck accident lawyers for legal advice and representation.