If you are filing a personal injury claim, you are more likely to have a successful case when you have witnesses who support your account of the events that led to your injury. But why are witnesses so important?
Witnesses help you prove what happened
For you to be awarded a settlement in a personal injury claim, your car accident lawyer must be able to prove that another person, by their negligence or reckless actions, caused your injuries. Your ICBC claims lawyer can usually assess the strength of your case by what witnesses have to say about your accident.
While witnesses may be called upon to give testimony in your case, it is crucial that witness statements are recorded at the scene of the accident. Once there is an injury, you must call the police. The police will collect witness statements and contact information. Still, it might be helpful if you speak with witnesses, record what they have to say and obtain their contact details in case they leave before the police arrive.
Human memory can be flawed and if you do not collect the witness statements while the accident is still fresh in their minds, witnesses may forget what they saw, or their version of events may be influenced by conversations in which others give opinions and ideas.
Why some witness statements carry more weight than others
If you had passengers in your vehicle, they should give witness statements. However, their accounts will not carry as much weight as that of bystanders who witnessed the accident but were not involved. Bystanders with no connection to either party involved in the accident are less likely to be biased than your family members or friends.
Statements can promote quick case settlement
Usually, a personal injury case will start with a discovery phase in which both sides will have the opportunity to explore the evidence that the other side has. Reviewing this evidence will give your ICBC claims lawyer a good idea of how the case might turn out. Your lawyer will determine whether it is better to go to trial or if your odds will be better trying to reach an out of court settlement.
During discovery, the other side may realize that the evidence against them is overwhelming and they may be the one to initiate settlement negotiations. Witness statements play a significant role in guiding these decisions. If bystanders give statements that reveal, for example, that the other driver was using their phone when the accident occurred, that party may be encouraged to settle quickly out of court.
While witness statements can give you leverage to help you reach a quick settlement, they are not as helpful if your case goes to trial. In court, witness statements are considered hearsay if the witnesses are not there to offer testimony corroborating the written account.
Knowing when to call an ICBC accident lawyer
If you were injured in a car accident, one of the first calls you should make is to an ICBC accident lawyer. After you’ve called the police and sought medical attention, consult a lawyer before you speak with the ICBC.
When the police arrive at the accident scene, they will interview you, but it is within your rights to refuse to make a statement at the scene. If you choose to make a statement, stick to the facts and keep your responses as simple as possible.
When you speak with the ICBC, you will need to give a detailed account of the accident and you will need to give a statement to a claims adjuster. You should always consult a lawyer before speaking with the ICBC as it is the aim of their claims adjusters to settle your claim for a little as possible and use varying tactics to try and weaken your case. Your ICBC claims lawyer will help you to avoid these traps.
Do you need an ICBC claims lawyer in Surrey?
If you were injured in an accident and need an ICBC claims lawyer in Surrey, give us a call at Nirwan Law Corporation. At Nirwan Law Corporation, we will handle all aspects of your claim, including negotiating with ICBC, referring you to appropriate specialists to prove your claim and, when necessary, litigating on your behalf to get you the money you deserve. So, give us a call today to schedule a free legal consultation.