Unfortunately, car accidents are a fact of life in California. Highly trafficked urban areas crisscross across the state. Additionally, the thriving tourism industry brings many drivers to California roads that not only increase the traffic but are unfamiliar with local roads and highways. Many California car accidents occur in busy, high traffic areas. While this fact means an increased risk of multiple car accidents and potentially higher property damage, it also means there are usually witnesses in the area.
5 Questions to Ask that Can Help Determine Liability in an Accident:
1. Can you explain what happened in your own words?
2. What were you doing just before the accident and where were you when the accident occurred?
3. Did you see or hear any sudden braking before the collision?
4. Do you remember where the cars involved in the accident were on the road before the collision occurred?
5. Did you notice any of the vehicles speeding, driving erratically, etc.?
Avoid Aggressive or Biased Questioning:
When attempting to ask the right questions of a car accident witness, it’s a good idea to begin the conversation with an open-ended question that invites them to provide all the details they have. Avoid any biased questioning that could seem aggressive or bullying like, “Did you see that car hit me?” If you appear to be seeking a certain answer, the witness may become defensive. It’s best to let an open-ended question lead them to share their own narrative before requesting additional details.
Determine the Witness’s Perspective in Connection to the Accident:
After hearing the witness’s recounting of the accident, it’s important to determine what perspective they were seeing it from. For instance, if you know what they were doing right before the accident, you may know that they didn’t see the actual impact. Knowing where they were on the road (or not on the road) will determine what their line of sight was, so you know what they may not have had an opportunity to see due to blind spots or objects that would impede their vision or portions of the scene.
Attempt to Determine if the Witness is Somehow Connected to the Accident or the Other Party:
It’s also a good idea to verify if the witness happens to know any parties involved in the accident. People are biased - it’s only natural that someone automatically sympathizes with a family member or friend when they’re involved in an accident. If the witness knows the other party involved, they may not be able to offer an unbiased view of the situation.
If you are injured in a California car accident, you want Moss Bollinger, Sherman Oaks, California personal injury attorney on your side. He’s dedicated to protecting and asserting the rights of his clients. Call 866-942-7974 today for a free consultation or contact us online.