If you’re in a car accident in Indiana, witness statements can prove to be critical evidence in determining who was responsible for the crash. If you believe you were not at-fault, these valuable accounts may help support your claim that the other driver caused the crash. These statements are especially important when injuries or serious property damage are involved that may warrant compensation.
Car accidents happen quickly, and often cause shock and confusion. You may need help understanding what to do following a collision, including how to gather statements from witnesses, and other steps to take. The Anderson, IN car accident attorneys at GDS Law Group can review the facts surrounding your case, and fight for you to receive an optimal outcome.
Determining Fault in a Crash
When car accidents occur, it isn’t unusual for drivers to dispute who was responsible. Some drivers might initially claim responsibility, then change their stories later on. Drivers may be confused about what actually happened, or they may not want to be held responsible, which is why witness statements can be so valuable in helping sort out who was at fault.
Insurance adjusters and investigators may consider statements from witnesses to help settle insurance claims, especially when the parties involved in accidents give conflicting accounts of what happened. In lawsuits, when one driver is suing another for compensation for their injuries, these bystander reports, along with crash reconstruction data and other information, are important evidence for helping determine who was negligent in a crash.
Obtaining Witness Statements
Statements from objective and unbiased eyewitnesses to accidents typically carry the most weight when determining fault. These are bystanders who were not involved in the crash, and aren’t associated with any of the drivers or passengers involved. They could be other drivers who were at the intersection where the crash occurred (who played no role in the collision), or passerby who were walking down the sidewalk and witnessed the wreck.
Witness statements should be collected as quickly as possible following a crash. Memories begin to fade as time passes, which can affect the accuracy of eyewitness reports. If possible, get statements in writing or on video at the accident scene. If that isn’t possible, be sure to collect names and contact information for all possible witnesses so you can reach out to them later.
Comparative Negligence in Indiana
The statements from witnesses to car accidents can help determine whether a single driver is to blame for an accident, or whether fault is shared between drivers. It’s important to note that Indiana is a comparative negligence state, and even if fault is determined to be shared, drivers can still receive compensation.
The Indiana Comparative Fault Act allows blame for a vehicle accident to be divided up by percentages. What this means is that a driver can be found partially responsible for causing a crash and still receive compensation for injuries and property. The key is that their responsibility for the accident must be below 51 percent.
Here is an example of how fault can be shared, and compensation still awarded: a jury determines that Driver A owes Driver B $10,000. Driver B was determined to be 10 percent responsible for the crash. Driver B’s compensation will be reduced by 10 percent, or $1,000. Driver A then owes Driver B $9,000.
Contact an Anderson Car Accident Attorney
Car accidents are traumatic events that often leave victims unsure of what to do next. The Anderson personal injury attorneys at GDS Law Group are highly experienced at determining fault in accidents by reviewing witness statements, police reports, accident reconstruction data and other crash information. If you need knowledgeable legal assistance with your car accident case, contact us today at (765) 313-7092 today.