Featured News 2019 What if You Witness a Car Accident?

What if You Witness a Car Accident?

Witnesses are crucial to determining fault in a car accident. If someone witnesses a collision on the roads, they have a responsibility to stay at the scene of the accident and report what you saw to the police. The law does not require a person to stay behind if they witness an accident. However, their word could be the deciding factor between two drivers who may not be completely certain about what happened.

Normally, each driver will describe their accident in a way that is biased. They only know what was going on inside their vehicle, and naturally, they will think the other driver is at fault. As an unbiased third-party observer, a witness can explain how the accident occurred. A witness to an accident will be able to explain if someone was driving erratically, while distracted, or in any other unsafe manner.

A Witness’ Role in Court

In a civil suit, the only parties that need to report to the court are the two drivers, and a case can proceed without the testimony of eyewitnesses. So, a person who witnesses a car accident is not typically required to provide testimony. If a witness provides their account of the accident to law enforcement immediately after, their recorded account should be enough to use in a civil trial.

However, if the accident involves serious injuries or death, the court may summon a witness through a subpoena. If a person is summoned to testify and they do not appear, they will be in contempt of court and at risk for arrest. If you live too far away from the courtroom, you could be exempt from appearing in court. So, travelers who witnessed an accident should not be afraid to stay and provide their account to authorities. If the plaintiff or defendant contacts a witness to provide testimony, there is no requirement for that person to do so. Only orders from the court must be followed by witnesses.

If a person refuses to come to the court at the request of one party, then can the court issue an official summons. Most of the time courts are reluctant to do this, and only comply if they find it very important.

If you have suffered injuries during a car accident, find a car accident attorney through our directory today!

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