The Role of Eyewitness Testimony in a Personal Injury Lawsuit

When a person sustains an injury caused by the negligent actions of another party, they will likely try to recover compensation either through an insurance settlement or a Portland personal injury lawsuit. There will be many types of evidence you used to determine the other party’s negligence, including eyewitness testimony. Here, we want to discuss how eyewitness testimony gets used.

What an Eyewitness Can Bring to Your Case

Eyewitnesses can play an important role when it comes to helping you recover compensation after an injury occurs. The reality is that the evidence will paint a picture, but eyewitnesses can help bring clarity to that picture.

There are various individuals who may be eyewitnesses after an injury occurs. This includes, but is not limited to, the following:

  • Individuals in nearby homes
  • Bystanders walking by when the incident occurred
  • Other drivers or passengers on the roadway
  • Individuals in nearby businesses
  • Any good Samaritans who may have stopped to help

Eyewitnesses You Don’t Know Are Better

In general, eyewitnesses who you do not know will likely bring more validity to your claim with their statements. Third parties unrelated to you would likely have more credibility. For example, suppose you are T-boned by an impaired driver at an intersection. An insurance carrier or personal injury jury is much more likely to believe the eyewitness testimony given by a driver or passenger in another vehicle who saw what happened as opposed to passengers who may have been inside your vehicle.

At the end of the day, every eyewitness statement matters. When you work with an attorney, they will obtain statements from any potential eyewitnesses and work to establish what likely occurred. If multiple eyewitness statements all come to the same general conclusion about the incident, this can be even better for your case.

How to Get Eyewitness Statements

Obtaining eyewitness statements can be challenging but certainly not impossible. At the scene of any type of injury that occurs, we always encourage individuals to obtain the names and contact information of any person who may have seen what happened or who may have information about the incident. It is very difficult to get full eyewitness statements at the scene of an incident. Usually, an attorney will need to contact these individuals at a later date and ask them to either give a recorded statement or even give a deposition under oath.

In the event individuals are unable to get the names and contact information of eyewitnesses, there may be other ways to obtain these statements. Often, police or accident reports will include the names and contact information of eyewitnesses, and an attorney may work to locate these individuals to obtain their statements.

Will You Need an Attorney?

Working with a skilled attorney is imperative when it comes to resolving complex injury claims. A lawyer should be the one to contact and speak to eyewitnesses because they will know what to ask and how to frame questions so that there is less doubt about the validity of the information they give. Additionally, if it comes down to a civil personal injury lawsuit, an attorney needs to be ready to obtain depositions under oath from the eyewitnesses.