How to Collect Witness Statements After a Fall
Falls happen every day, and they can cause serious injuries. More than 800,000 people a year in the U.S. are hospitalized because of fall injuries, according to the CDC. Many falls result from hazardous conditions existing on a property due to negligence. If you have been injured in a fall accident that was someone else’s fault, you may file a claim for compensation against the responsible party. Statements from eyewitnesses to the accident can help your claim.
How Do Witness Statements Add Credibility to Your Claim?
When you file a claim against a negligent property owner for fall injuries sustained on a premises, that party’s insurance company is responsible for paying the claim. It is the insurance adjuster’s job to verify your injuries and how the accident occurred. As employees of insurance companies, adjusters are interested in the company’s bottom line and will look for ways to minimize their payout or deny your claim altogether. At least one reliable witness can add value to your claim and prevent the insurance adjuster from denying it or minimizing your injuries.
What Types of Witnesses Can You Choose After a Fall Accident?
After a serious fall accident, you may choose to call two types of witnesses:
- Eyewitnesses: These are people who personally observed your fall accident when it occurred. For example, there may be other customers in a store, shoppers in a mall, employees of a business establishment, or people passing by.
- Expert witnesses: This type of witness provides expert knowledge and helps clarify facts about some aspect of the case. For instance, in the case of a fall accident that caused traumatic brain injury, you may need an expert witness to explain how the disabling, long-term effects of that type of injury could impact your ability to earn a living. Expert witnesses are usually only required in cases of very serious injuries with life-altering consequences.
What Makes a Good Eyewitness?
A strong eyewitness could lead to a higher value settlement offer from the insurance company. To help your case, a witness should be trustworthy and believable. Testimony from an impartial witness is more convincing than testimony from a family member or friend who was with you at the time of the accident. However, any witness statement is better than none.
The best eyewitness would be someone who:
- Was nearby and saw how the accident happened
- Did not know the victim before the accident
- Does not have a financial or personal interest in the outcome of the claim
- Does not have a personal bias about the property owner or the victim
- Provides specific details and facts about the accident
Why Is It Important to Get Witness Statements Quickly?
It is best to get statements from witnesses immediately or as soon as possible after the accident. This is because a person’s memory of the incident could fade over time. A written statement taken soon after the accident can help refresh the memory of the witness so he or she can provide a clear, accurate statement of the facts later in the case.
What Type of Information Should Be Included In a Witness Statement?
A witness statement should convey details of what the witness observed and specific facts about the accident – who was involved, what happened, when it happened, and where. The more accurate details a statement contains, the more weight it will carry in your claim. It should not contain any speculation, opinion, or personal feelings of the witness.
If you have been injured in a fall accident on someone else’s property, it is in your best interests to speak with a Massachusetts slip and fall injury attorney as soon as possible. At DiBella Law Offices, P.C., we have been helping injured people for nearly 20 years.
Contact us at (978) 327-5140 to schedule a free consultation.