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How to talk to witnesses after a car accident

Texas drivers need to be careful on roadways. According to data collected by the Texas Department of Transportation, a car crash occurred every 57 seconds in 2016. 

One of the things someone needs to do after a collision is speak to any witnesses who saw what happened. Sometimes there is not going to be anybody around. Sometimes a person will be there, but drivers need to talk to them the right way. Witness testimony is highly useful if a collision ends up going to court, so it is important to speak to people in the area the correct way. 

Take care of other matters first

After a car crash, a person's first thoughts probably are not going to be about talking to strangers. Someone should contact an ambulance first in case anyone suffered any injuries. Someone also needs to contact the police. An official police report is extremely valuable in court, so it is important to have that above getting witness testimony. At that point, once a person is simply waiting for the police to arrive, he or she can talk to people in the vicinity. 

Ask good questions

The point of witness testimony is to obtain an account of what happened from a different perspective. Therefore, it is beneficial to ask questions related to the weather or road conditions that could have affected people's driving. Other good questions to ask include:

  • Where were you standing?
  • How long were you standing there?
  • What did you notice before and after the collision?
  • Was your view obstructed at any point?

Do not try to lead the witness

Some drivers try to lead the witness to provide a certain type of response. This can include leading with questions, such as, "Did you see the other driver hit me?" These types of questions are more likely to make a witness feel uncomfortable. People do not have to provide testimony if they really do not want to. Simply ask open-ended questions. The witness can write down testimony on a piece of paper and sign it, or the driver can record it on his or her phone. 

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