Many, many auto accidents occur at intersections. It will be critical to determine who had the right of way. Oftentimes, whether they are lying or sincerely believe it to be true, the other party who ran the red light will claim they had the green light/right of way. Thus it becomes essential to identify any witnesses. Ideally it would be a witness who saw the entire event happen, from beginning to end. What is essential is that witness can testify to things such as; what color was the light, who stopped, who was speeding, who changed lanes, etc. Cases can be won or lost on a witness. As I’ve had to tell clients, what happened in the auto accident is not important, being able to prove what happened is.
GET INFORMATION OF ANY WITNESS IN THE AREA
Try to get the information of any witness in the area. Take a photo of their driver’s license, even the license plate of the vehicle so they can be contacted later. Too many times the client left it up to the officer on scene to prepare a complete and thorough report, including all witness names. One would be shocked to find out how often witness names are left out of reports. If someone hands you their business cards as says, “I saw the whole thing”, don’t just hand that card over to the officer. Take a photo of it first and then hand it over to the reporting officer, or write down the information and then provide it. However you do it, keep all witness information for yourself as well.
Additionally, photographs can be of benefit. This is especially true if vehicles are in the same position as they were when they came to rest post-impact, before they are moved or towed. Photographs of the other vehicles damage can prove to be extremely helpful. Sometimes the damage to your vehicle isn’t that bad while the other vehicle’s damage is so severe it is to be towed from the auto accident scene. If there is debris, get photos of its location. It could turn out to be determinative of who changed lanes into whom. Skid marks can be relevant to determine speed. Basically, any aspect of the accident that can be photographed, should be photographed.
Calling police is a great idea and is recommended as parties and witnesses could be more cooperative with police, but often in today’s society if there isn’t significant personal injury the police will literally not come to the auto accident scene. You will be instructed to move your vehicles off the road and exchange information. So, it becomes your burden and responsibility to capture as much evidence as you can at the auto accident scene prior to leaving. Understanding this can be hard to do when you are strapped to a gurney in the back of an ambulance, but doing as much as possible can turn out to be the difference when faced with the burden of having to prove what happened.