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How to Write a Good Witness Statement

By: Tracy Wilkinson - Updated: 21 Feb 2015 | comments*Discuss
Witness Statement Photographs Involved

If you're involved in a car accident, it can be a very scary and difficult experience to go through. Witnessing an accident can be just as traumatic, but if you can keep your wits about you enough to enable you to make a witness statement, detailing what happened, then you can be invaluable for the people involved in the accident - especially any innocent parties.

When an accident takes place, it usually happens so quickly that each person involved will have a different idea as to what happened. People are frightened, suffering from various injuries and shock, and tensions are running very high - it's hardly the ideal time to try and take in everything that is going on around you for perfect recall later on.

Why do People Need Witnesses?

When a claim is made, both parties will detail what they think happened - usually on an insurance claim form which is then submitted to the insurance company and passed onto an individual loss adjuster. They will want to get to the bottom of what happened - either from an accident report or from the notes provided by any police officers who were present on the scene or whom the incident was reported to later on.

Unless the police were present at the time of the accident they can only report on what the situation was when they arrived on the scene and from the aftermath - which doesn't make them particularly helpful in identifying what actually happened and who was at fault.

Once the police report and the driver statements have been reviewed, the next step is for witness statements to be submitted - and this can be from anyone who was there at the scene and who saw what happened when the accident occurred.

If someone is involved in an accident and they need to make a non-fault claim, having someone who saw the whole thing and who is prepared to put their name to a witness statement, confirming what happened, can make the difference between winning and losing a claim.

However witnesses are harder to find than they used to be; it seems that people are too busy to stop or just don't want to get involved - but if you see a car accident you should remember that you do have a legal obligation to stop and make a statement.

So What do I do if I see an Accident?

If you see an accident you should make yourself known to the people involved and if possible, take photographs (even mobile phone images are usually good enough) from the position you were in when you saw the collision so you can describe what happened from your perspective. You should approach the people involved in the accident and wait with them for the police to arrive so that you can leave your details with them when they are making their official report.

What Information will I Need to Leave?

You will need to leave your name, telephone number, email address, physical address and any other information which may be deemed relevant (when you are contactable, etc). If you can't wait for the police to arrive, leave your information with the people who were involved in the accident (both parties if possible in case one knows that the accident was their fault and so destroys your details).

What Details of the Accident should I Report?

When you make your statement it should include all your pertinent personal information as detailed above, a comprehensive account of what you saw and if you saw who was at fault then you should clearly outline this in your report. You should then sign and date the statement at the bottom. If there is more than one page you should initial each page and sign the bottom of each sheet.

The police officer will then either want to take the statement and keep it, or take it to make notes from, for their official reports. If this happens then you need to ask for a copy of the report so that you can keep hold of it for your reference. If the insurance company calls you in a few weeks it will be far easier for you to remember what happened if you have a detailed report in front of you - it's surprising just how much you can forget in a short space of time.

It might seem like a lot of hassle, but as mentioned earlier, you and your report could be the difference between someone who isn't at fault winning their case. Hopefully, in the same situation, you'd be lucky enough to find someone who would do the same for you.

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I have just completed the exam for Private Investigator and Passed, this can involve of Statement Taking of Witnesses such as Traffic Accidents and Personal Injury claims. Taking of Photographs is a must at the scene of an Accident because it can help to get the picture of how it happened.
Das - 23-Aug-14 @ 3:28 PM
can you show me a report on a traffic accident that somebody els has written because i dont know how to do them and i need a lot of help! PLESE!!!!!!!!
sam - 28-Jun-12 @ 6:27 PM
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