What Questions Should I Ask a Truck Accident Witness?
As prevalent as cameras, cell phones, and video surveillance systems are today, technology still can’t see everything. In many cases, the most powerful evidence is still presented by eyewitnesses. Witnesses are generally neutral bystanders who happen to observe an event. Witnesses can provide key details of an event and help investigators unravel the circumstances that lead to the occurrence. When it comes to truck accidents, witnesses can be vital to helping substantiate a victim’s claim.
However, the strength of a witness’s testimony can greatly depend on the quality of the questions that they are asked. Knowing how to approach witnesses after an accident and what information you can gather from them can make a difference in your case.
At The Benton Law Firm, we want to arm truck accident victims with some of the best questions to ask witnesses after a significant truck collision.
Can you tell me in your own words what you saw?
It is best to open with a general question that allows the witness to explain what they saw. Do not ask leading questions that could influence their description of the accident like, “Did you see the truck driver hit me?” Simply ask what they saw and let them fill in the details. This question is a great jumping-off point to get a feel for how much of the accident they saw.
Can you go into more detail?
Once you get a general idea of what they saw, now is the time to probe them for more details. Often a witness will describe the incident like they are giving a synopsis. They may leave details out just to get through telling the entire story. After they describe the event they saw, ask for more information. Allow them to expand on their narrative. If they leave something out, you may want to ask for clarification or follow up with other questions like:
- What time did the accident happen?
- Where were you in relation to the accident location?
- How far from the crash were you?
- Was anyone else with you?
- Did you hear the truck driver say anything after the collision?
- Where was each vehicle located before the accident?
- Did you see anyone else who may have witnessed the crash?
- Did you notice anything unusual?
Get them to fill in their story with as much detail as they can remember.
What did you do after the accident?
Ask what the witness did immediately after the accident. Did they call 911? What did they tell the dispatcher? Ask the witness if they happened to take any video or photos of the collision itself or the accident scene. If they are willing, see if they can share those images with you. Photos from multiple different angles can be helpful when recreating how an accident took place.
What were you doing before the accident?
You will want to know what the witness was doing immediately before the accident. If they were on their phone, their head may have been down, and they could have missed the initial impact. This question simply helps you identify how attentive they were to the crash. If a witness missed part of the crash, that doesn’t mean their statement is not valid. They may be able to help fill in pieces of the puzzle that another witness missed and vice versa.
Can I have your contact information?
Sometimes you may not be able to talk to a witness immediately after an accident, especially if you are seriously injured. Even if you can speak with witnesses after a crash, you may want to follow up with them later for more information. Your attorney will certainly want to take the time to speak with any witnesses as well. Ask if it is possible to take down their contact information and whether you can reach out to them to talk later.
Get in Touch with a Skilled Truck Accident Attorney Today
At The Benton Law Firm, we understand how important witnesses can be to a truck accident claim. Our team has experience tracking down and interviewing potential witnesses and using that information to build a solid accident claim.
If you have been injured in a truck accident that wasn’t your fault and want help seeking maximum compensation, contact the truck accident attorneys at The Benton Law Firm. Our team can help you gather witness testimony, investigate the cause of the accident, and aggressively negotiate for compensation on your behalf. To set up a free, no-obligation consultation call our office today at (214) 777-7777.