It can prove difficult to speak with a witness, a person that you first met soon after the accident. Consider what information you need, and try to obtain those needed facts and observations.
How to approach a witness
Speak with him or her at a spot that is away from the accident site. Call the witness on the phone, or have your Injury Lawyer in Ottawa call the different witnesses.
What to say; what to ask
Review the basic facts about the accident’s location: names of streets, presence or absence of traffic signals, time of day, and the weather. Ask what the witness saw or heard during the moments leading up to the accident. What was observed in moments after that same incident?
What was the position of your vehicle after the crash? Be ready to provide the witness with information on your vehicle’s color, make and model.
If this particular witness had been the first person to approach your damaged vehicle, learn whether or not you had been unconscious for any period of time. Some witnesses provide the victim with that sort of information, because that is a fact that should get entered in the victim’s medical record.
What you should not ask
Do not try to learn what the witness might have heard others say, after the collision had taken place. A witness’ statement about someone else’s comments would be viewed as hearsay, it could not be mentioned in a courtroom trial. Still, you might want to learn about a statement that could serve as a clue, concerning possible evidence.
For instance, maybe you heard someone say that a cell phone had been found on the driver’s seat in the responsible party’s automobile. In that case, you would want to ask the police if they had indeed found a cell phone in that location.
By the same token, you would have a reason to inquire about what statements might have been made about you. Did someone suggest that you had appeared intoxicated? If you had not consumed any alcohol, then you might ask a lawyer how to deal with the fact that someone had suggested otherwise.
Furthermore, if the witness’ background has included training in a special field, that could alert you to another topic for questions. That would certainly be the case, if you were speaking with an emergency responder. Indeed, anyone from surrounding buildings might know of video cameras in a nearby parking lot. Do not insist on information, if the witness has trouble recalling all the details.
Instead, be sure to express your gratitude for the witness’ cooperation. While you might be familiar with personal injury laws, the questioned witness might lack much knowledge, regarding the same laws.