What If There Were No Witnesses to My Car Accident?
No matter how or why it happened, getting into a car accident is a terrible experience. When the accident is not your fault and you experience injuries, you can seek compensation by filing an injury claim against the at-fault driver. One of the first things anyone will tell you – an attorney, insurance adjuster, or police officer – is to get the contact information from any witnesses on the scene.
Witness testimony is one of the best ways to bolster a case.
With witnesses so important to the outcome of a car accident case, what happens if there were no witnesses? Are you out of luck?
Can you still take legal action with no witnesses?
The good news is you can still take legal action against the responsible driver. However, the way you handle things after the car accident can have a big impact on your case later, so it is important to be careful.
What should you do after the accident?
If you have experienced an accident with no witnesses to corroborate your version of events, take these steps to safeguard your case.
Ensure everyone’s safety
Check on the physical safety of yourself and your passengers (if you have any). If you can do so, and only if it is safe, move your car to the shoulder of the road, away from traffic. If you cannot move your vehicle, get yourself to a safer location instead.
Call the police or 911
If the other driver has not already done so, call 911 and wait for the police and medical personnel. Ask the police officer to take down an accident report, and answer questions truthfully but succinctly. Do not take blame for any part of the accident.
If possible and if safe to do so, take photos of the accident scene and damaged vehicles. Try to get all possible angles, as well as the road, evidence of the collision, and any skid marks or unique road conditions. Ensure you photograph all vehicles involved.
You should not speak with the other driver other than to exchange information. All involved parties should share full names, contact information, driver’s licenses, and insurance information. Avoid any conversation about the accident, especially anything regarding fault or apologizing. Anything you say could later be brought up in a lawsuit.
Get medical attention
See a medical professional immediately. Even if you do not feel injured after an accident, it is a good idea to get checked out. Often, after an auto accident, adrenaline or shock can prevent a person from feeling the effects of any injuries. This is especially true in the case of brain or internal injuries, which may not symptomize for hours or even days after the accident. Your health is your first priority. Ensure you save all documents and bills from your doctor visits.
Write down everything you remember
Start a journal – written, on your computer, or even a voice diary – detailing everything you remember about the accident. Describe what happened before, during, and after. This is crucial evidence to give to your attorney, and will preserve your memories of the events while they are still fresh.
Notify your insurance company
You should let your car insurance company know you were in an accident as soon as possible. Waiting to file a claim can work against you.
Then, consult with an experienced car accident attorney if you plan to file a personal injury claim. Because there were no witnesses, your lawyer can help build a strong case on your behalf.
Contact McNicholas & McNicholas now
The Los Angeles attorneys at McNicholas & McNicholas can help when you have suffered injury in an accident that wasn’t your fault. To schedule your free case evaluation with a member of our legal team, call 310-474-1582, or reach out to us through our contact page to tell us your story.
Please note that this blog is not to be construed as legal advice. Because every case is fact-specific, you should consult directly with an attorney to obtain legal advice specific to your situation.
For more than three decades, McNicholas & McNicholas, LLP has built a reputation as one of California’s leading law firms. Founded by a family of attorneys spanning three generations, John McNicholas and sons, Patrick and Matthew, have tried hundreds of cases to jury verdict on behalf of clients. Learn More about McNicholas & McNicholas