After you have been involved in a truck accident, one of the most important things you should do involves speaking with any bystanders or passers-by who may have witnessed the crash. Although at a minimum you should get an eyewitness’s contact information so that you or your truck accident attorney can later reach out to the witness for formal testimony, it can also help to ask a few quick questions to assess how reliable and effective the witness may be for your truck accident claim. Below we’ve compiled some questions that you should ask witnesses to a truck accident that you were involved in.
The first set of questions to ask a truck accident witness revolves around what the witness was doing in the moments leading up to the accident. Some these questions include:
- Where were you coming from right before the accident? – This question can help you to determine the witness’s vantage point. It can also reveal information potentially relevant to the witness’s reliability. For example, if the witness says they had just come from a bar, their potential intoxication may call the reliability of their testimony into question.
- When did you see/hear/realize that an accident was happening? – You should ask this to confirm how much of the accident the witness saw.
- Was anyone with you at the time of the accident? – This will help you identify other potential witnesses.
Questions about the Accident Itself
Most importantly, you will want to ask a witness about their recollection of the crash itself. Try to avoid leading or biased questions like “Did you see the truck hit my vehicle?” Instead, important questions you might ask include:
- Can you explain what you saw?
- Where were you standing in relation to the crash?
- Did you have a clear view of the accident?
Depending on the level of detail that the witness gives in their narrative, you may want to ask follow-up questions such as:
- What lane was each vehicle in? What directions were the vehicles traveling in?
- Were any drivers speeding?
- Did you notice any erratic movements of any vehicles?
- Did you see any vehicle commit a traffic violation? (e.g. running a red light, making an illegal U-turn)
- Did you hear sudden braking or screeching of tires?
You should also ask the witness questions about the moments following the crash, such as:
- Did any drivers involved in the accident say anything? – You might get details about incriminating statements that a driver said in the moments after the accident.
- What did you do after the accident? – This might elicit information about another driver who fled the scene of the crash. Or the witness might reveal that they called 911, indicating that the witness thought the accident serious enough to alert the authorities.
- Did you see any other witnesses who saw the accident or who might have information? – Even if a witness can’t provide many details about the accident itself, they might lead you to other witnesses who have more details to provide.
Questions about the Witness
Lastly, you might also want to ask the witness about themselves. These questions should try to elicit information that can help you evaluate the reliability and strength of the witness’s testimony. Potential questions include:
- Do you know anyone involved in the accident? – Obviously, testimony from an eyewitness who knows the truck driver or works for the trucking company likely won’t prove helpful to your case, as the witness may be biased to give testimony favorable to the driver or trucking company.
- Do you normally wear corrective lenses? Are you wearing them now? – While it might seem a little uncomfortable to ask a complete stranger medically-related questions, if you don’t see a witness wearing glasses, you may want to know if they have been prescribed corrective lenses. If they weren’t wearing them at the time of the accident, they may not have accurately perceived details about the crash.
- Can I have your contact information in case I need to speak with you again? – If you haven’t gotten the witness’s contact information before asking them the above questions, you should certainly do so before you conclude your conversation.
Reach Out to Our Truck Accident Attorneys to Discuss Your Case
Following a truck accident that was caused by a truck driver’s or trucking company’s negligence or recklessness, call Gibson Hill Personal Injury at 512-580-8334 or contact us through our website for a free initial case review to discuss your claim with our truck accident attorneys. We can go over your legal rights and options and how our firm can help you pursue compensation for the accident and your injuries.