Drafting a witness statement for an accident that can help build a strong case against an insurance company or in a court of law takes a sizeable amount of preparation work, resources, and attention to detail.
Writing a Witness Statement
The best time to write a witness statement is as close to the time of the accident as possible. As time goes by, memories fade and people may become more uncooperative. A witness statement needs to contain all the relevant facts about the accident including what the driver was doing at the moment of the crash and whether there were other people in their car that can confirm your witness’ statement.
A witness statement should be written on an A4 paper (leaving the back blank) with a border of 3.5. Make sure that the paragraphs containing separate issues are all numbered and so are the witness statement draft’s pages.
When documenting a car crash through an eyewitness make sure that you don’t leave any critical detail out and that the events are recorded in the right chronological order. Use a simple style of writing. Don’t try to impress anyone with your legalese – the simpler the better but keep it accurate. Tell the story from your perspective but keep personal opinions to yourself.
If there is a cause-and-effect link between the car crash and your damages and loss make sure that you back it in the witness statement with facts. Provide time and dates for each event (if you can remember) to offer extra credibility to your account.
Be accurate, specific, but not overly opinionated. Refrain from excusing the at-fault driver or minimizing your injuries and loss. Stick to the whom, where, and when. Leave the whys to investigators and the courts.
There’s an exception to not including your opinion in a witness statement: When you are an expert witness and your are asked to give your opinion to help authorities solve a case. A witness expert will provide a professional interpretation of the events and help investigators and the court put the pieces of the puzzle together.
An expert witness is also allowed to offer the potential whys behind an incident but their opinion is not mandatory for a court of law. Just like regular witnesses, and expert witness should refrain from basing their account on hearsay or other people’s opinions.
What a Witness Statement Should Include
A witness statement is not valid without the following information:
· Name, address, and other contact info of the witness (job title or a brief description of the witness is usually required as well)
· Heading of the case
· Time and date of the witness statement
· The party who will benefit from the witness statement and who has asked the witness to make the statement
· Relationship of the witness with the parties involved in the accident (if the witness has no interest in the legal proceedings mention it in the witness statement).
· If the witness’ makes the statement as an employee, mention the name and, address of their employer, along with the witness’ job title as well
· Document any evidence that may back the events presented in the witness statement, such as medical records, police reports, or traffic footage.
· Mention whether there are other witnesses that can confirm your witness statement
· The witness should provide an unbiased description of the events, in chronological order.
· Severity of injuries and property damage caused by the accident should also be included in the statement.
· Any other relevant info that may help find the driver at fault and offer the victim the right compensation such as inadequate visibility, distracted driving, poor road conditions needs to be included..
· The witness’ signature.
Writing a witness statement usually takes a decent amount of legwork and needs to contain some mandatory details for it to be valid in the eyes of law enforcement officials or insurance company representatives. A good witness statement is accurate, unbiased, and unopinionated although it should contain the sequence of the events as seen through the eyes of the witness.
A witness statement sometimes involves a sizable dose of guesswork, but if a professional provides input, it can tip the scale in your favor. Also, if you've been involved in an accident you can speak to a lawyer to learn how to write a witness statement in your situation to better help you recover compensation for any resulting damages especially when you were also injured in the incident.