While driving, you approach an intersection while the traffic light is green and proceed through. Out of the corner of your eye, you see a flash. Your car has been hit on the passenger side.
A few days later, an adjuster calls you from the insurance company of the person who hit you. The adjuster informs you that the insurance company is denying your claim, because their insured says they had the green light, not you.
This story is one we hear almost every day. Without other witnesses, often there is not much that can be done to make a recovery. If the insurance company won’t discuss a possible settlement, the only option is to file suit and go to court. At court, the injured person has the burden of proof. That they have the burden to prove that the other driver is at fault.
If it’s just your word against the other driver, it’s usually not enough. There needs to be evidence proving that you had the green light. Even if the investigating officer charges the other driver, it isn’t enough to prove your case in civil court. The best way to prove that your light was green is through the testimony of a witness.
If you are involved in an accident, you should ask the people who stopped to check on you for their names and contact information. Even if they didn’t see what happened, they may remember facts that prove you are being truthful about the incident. Usually, witnesses will have more information than just the actual crash facts. That information can support your credibility and undermine the other driver’s attempt to lie. Be sure to record the license plate numbers of those involved in the accident as well – especially if the at-fault driver attempts to hit and run.
Be sure to secure the names, phone numbers, and addresses of the witnesses at the scene. You can ask the investigating officer if he or she obtained the contact information of any witnesses, but it’s usually better to get this information on your own. A police officer’s first responsibility at the scene of an accident is to attend to those who were injured, and then to assure the safety of the scene for other motorists.
You can be a good Samaritan. If you are first to a scene of an accident, you can help by gathering witness information and passing it along to the police officer at the scene. If you witnessed the accident itself, provide your own information to the driver who was not at fault.
That information could mean the difference between whether an injured person is or is not able to recover for their injuries and losses caused by someone else. Considering the escalating cost of health care, that difference can make or break someone’s life savings.
If you have been injured in an accident through no fault of your own, you may be entitled to compensation. Call Allen & Allen today for a free consultation, at 866-388-1307.