When you're in a car accident in Kansas or Missouri that leaves you injured, you may be in a situation where you need to prove that the other driver caused the accident. Because these are fault states, the driver found to be at fault is responsible for paying the damages to the victim. If your actions played no part in causing the crash, you—or your insurance company—
shouldn't have to pay out for medical expenses or car repairs.
However, accidents often come down to one driver’s word against another’s. In these cases, you or your attorney will need to gather evidence to prove that the other driver is at fault.
Evidence to Gather Following a Car Accident
Following a serious car accident, the police do their best to determine fault. They examine the scene; assess the drivers for signs of drug or alcohol impairment; look for evidence of driver distraction; and glance at the cars for signs of mechanical defects.
However, their main priority is to get emergency medical treatment for the victims and clear the road, not determining fault. They put the information they gather into a report, which will become important evidence to you later on. They may also issue citations, which can also help you in your claim. Other evidence may include photos taken at the scene and visible damage to the vehicles. Finally, statements from others at the scene can play an important role in determining fault.
When the police investigate an accident, they may talk to witnesses at the scene and write down their statements. However, if the accident doesn't involve serious injury or death, they may not make the effort. Law enforcement isn't concerned with who is going to pay damages: they're going to look for criminal actions such as drunk or reckless driving, and cite drivers who broke a traffic law.
Therefore, if you or an occupant of your car is able, it may be worth taking down contact information from witnesses so they may be interviewed later on. Possible witnesses at a crash scene include:
- Occupants of the cars involved. Passengers from any other cars in the accident might be able to provide a clearer narrative of what happened than the drivers. Although the assumption is that passengers may be biased in favor of the driver they were with, they could still provide valuable information.
- Good Samaritans. People who stop to render aid may hear statements from the victims that could be useful in an investigation. They may also see things such as a cell phone in a driver’s lap that could help determine fault. They might also be witnesses to the crash itself.
- Workers in nearby businesses. If the accident happened in a commercial area, it may be worth canvassing nearby businesses to see if any employees saw the crash happen from their workplaces. Sometimes, distance gives a better view of an action such as an illegal turn or sudden stop.
- Road workers. If road construction or utility work was going on near the crash, these workers should be interviewed to see if they saw or heard anything. Even if you didn't see workers in the area, it may be worth contacting utility companies to see if they had people in the area at the time of the crash.
- Passersby. Other drivers near the scene or pedestrians who were walking by at the time of the accident can be very useful witnesses. If you're able, take down names and phone numbers of anyone milling around in the aftermath and give the names to your attorney.
As with any legal case, the more credible the witness is, the stronger his or her evidence will be. Anyone associated with one of the victims may be seen as biased. Witnesses who wear glasses, have criminal records, are elderly, or are known to be dishonest may be discredited by the accused driver’s attorneys. However, it's still worth gathering all the witnesses you can and letting your attorney decide who can give valuable statements.
Our Attorneys Know What You Need From Witnesses
The sooner you call our office after a car accident, the sooner we can track down and interview witnesses. Our attorneys have taken statements from hundreds of bystanders, and we know how to gather the evidence you need to support your claim. Call us today for more information.