When someone is injured in any type of accident, he or she may attempt to recruit witnesses who can attest to what they saw. In some scenarios, a witness may be a complete stranger, but in other scenarios, it could be a family member, friend, or co-worker. If someone you know was injured right in front of you, it's reasonable to expect him or her to ask you to serve as a witness for the upcoming legal proceedings. Here are some dos and don'ts to remember.
Do: Be Open about Your Relationship
Being honest about what you saw is paramount if you want to help the person you know, but you should also be open about the nature of your relationship with him or her. People may sometimes suspect that those who know each other will exaggerate the details of an accident to be helpful, and this may compel you to attempt hiding the nature of your relationship. But the other party's attorney can dig into your background and easily uncover this information, leading to more problems for you. You'll be more valuable by being honest up front.
Don't: Try to Make the Accident Seem Worse
It's understandable for you to want to help your friend, and this may make you think that describing the accident's details in a dramatic way could be helpful. For example, if you witnessed a friend get hit by a car, you might suggest that the car veered to purposely hit the friend. But in addition to the ramifications of lying to the authorities, you're also risking discrediting your friend's case. Don't ever try to make the accident and injury seem worse than is factual.
Do: Talk about the Impact You've Seen
Part of the way that you can help your friend in an honest manner is to talk about how you've seen his or her life change because of the accident. Although your primary goal as a witness is to describe the accident scene itself, your friend's attorney may ask you to support your friend's claim of emotional distress. You may play a helpful role in talking about how you've seen his or her personality change, for example, because of the pain of the injury.
Don't: Accept Anything from Your Friend
Your friend might be so eager to have you serve as a witness that he or she offers you a gift, money, or the promise of money upon the case being resolved. Should the suit go to court, the other party's attorney may ask you if you're receiving anything from the victim to act as a witness. If you can honestly reply in the negative, you'll avoid harming the case.
To learn more, talk to a personal injury attorney today.