Is it important to have a witness when you have an accident?

The simple answer to the question is – yes! If someone witnesses you having an accident, then it is essential that you try and get their details.

Recently we had a client Mr X, who had been involved in a road traffic accident where the third party, who was at a give-way, waiting to enter the main road, had collided into the passenger side of his vehicle. Both parties got out of their respective vehicles and exchanged all necessary details required.

After the two parties exchanged their details, the third party left the scene. A lady called had pulled up and advised Mr X that she had witnessed the accident and would be happy for him to pass her details on for further contact regarding the accident.

As far as Mr X was concerned this was a straightforward accident and it was clearly the other driver’s fault. However, the insurers of the other driver denied all responsibility for the accident; they claimed it was Mr X’s fault for the accident. They said that he had reduced his speed to let their insured out, when Mr X had then continued to drive past, causing the accident.

We contacted the independent witness, and asked her if she would fill out a witness questionnaire for us.  This form is a detailed document and this would set out exactly what she had witnessed.

She provided a very helpful statement which included a sketch. This form supported Mr X’s version of events and held the other driver at fault.

We sent the witness questionnaire, together with photographs of the damage to both vehicles, and an offer to settle the claim to the insurers of the other driver.

The insurers of the third party did not respond to this.

We advised the witness that because the insurers were failing to respond we may have to issue court proceedings and sue the other driver. She was very police and was happy to cooperate and help Mr X.

This was in the hope that the third party insurers would then respond and settle his claim. The threat of issuing court proceedings was successful, and the third party insurers responded and settled the claim in full. Mr X received £2,000 in compensation.

Having a witness was the main reason we were able to secure a settlement in his case. She was important because she supported Mr X’s version of the accident circumstances and was completely independent.

Even if the witness is not independent, he/she can still be very useful in helping clients prove their case.

Our client was incredibly grateful to the witness in his case and thanked her for the help provided.

If you are a witness to an accident, you should always try to stop and provide your details as you may be helping someone else. Even where the accident circumstances and who is at fault look clear cut…. you never know who may you need your help!

 

Bridget Noctor

New Claims Team

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