If you are ever in a motor vehicle accident and get hurt, it opens the door to a potential lawsuit. During the ensuing litigation, witnesses might play a role in determining fault.
Effectively interviewing an observer requires an orderly approach. This helps ensure you obtain each relevant piece of information without causing confusion or presenting leading questions.
Step 1. Remain calm and composed
Approach the witness with a relaxed, low-key demeanor. Avoid outward displays of frustration or anger, as this might negatively impact the bystander’s willingness to cooperate. Start the conversation by introducing yourself and explaining that you are merely seeking an impartial observer’s perspective so that you can report the incident accurately.
Step 2. Establish a connection
Build rapport with the witness by expressing gratitude for taking the time to assist. A friendly and respectful manner can encourage the person to provide more than would otherwise be the case.
Step 3. Ask open-ended questions
Use queries that demand full explanations. Questions like “Can you describe what you saw?” or “Walk me through the events” encourage the bystander to provide a robust narrative.
Step 4. Request details
Once you have the initial account, delve into specifics. Inquire about the direction and speed of the vehicles. Also, note the weather. According to the Federal Highway Administration, nearly half a million motor vehicle accidents happen annually due to winter storms and other seasonal road conditions.
Step 5. Collect contact information
Write down the person’s full name, phone number and email address. Be sure this document is safe from destruction or misplacement. This ensures you can reach out should you need further clarification.
Even if you are a novice regarding witness interviews, you can complete the task systematically and respectfully. A discerning approach will enhance the accuracy of what you gather and contribute to a smoother resolution of your case.