Two cars damaged after head-on collision

Information You Should Ask Car Accident Witnesses

Law Office of Steven R. Smith July 17, 2023

According to the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles, there are more than 300,000 reported traffic accidents in the state each year. With so many crashes happening every year, there is a high risk of suffering injuries or at least having your car damaged beyond repair. When you’ve been in an accident, aside from ensuring the safety of everyone involved, one of the most important things you need to do is gather as much information as you can at the scene, including statements from any witnesses. Knowing what types of questions to ask can be beneficial if the need for legal action arises.  

At the Law Office of Steven R. Smith, I am ready to help you seek the compensation you need after your car accident. To learn more about what your legal options are, how to pursue a claim, or the right steps to take in the legal process, contact me to schedule a consultation. I proudly serve clients in New York, including Long Island, Hempstead, Westbury, Mineola, and New Hyde Park. 

Car Accident Claims in New York

Traffic accidents and personal injury claims are handled differently from one state to another. Understanding how these types of situations are addressed in New York is important as you consider your options and plan your strategy. 

New York Is a No-Fault State 

From an insurance standpoint, New York is a “no-fault” state. This means that no matter who is responsible for the accident, the operators and passengers will have their medical bills and property damage costs covered by the insurance companies that cover their respective vehicles. 

Statute of Limitations 

Under New York law, you have a time window of three years from the date of the accident to file an accident or personal injury claim. Failure to file your claim within this three-year window will result in the court being unwilling to hear your case, and your opportunity to pursue financial compensation will be gone. 

Gathering Information After an Accident 

Once it has been established that everyone involved in the accident is either safe or receiving necessary medical treatment, it is important to begin the process of gathering information and documentation about the accident. Every detail you can document from the scene, including information provided by witnesses, can potentially be used to your advantage later in the legal process. 

Questions to Ask Witnesses

Some of the relevant questions to ask other people who were either involved in your car accident or saw it happen can include:  

  • What time did you arrive at the accident scene?  

  • Where were you coming from, and where were you going when the accident happened?  

  • What were the weather and road conditions?  

  • In your own words, can you describe the accident?  

  • Did you have a clear view of the accident?  

  • Do you know any other witnesses?  

Though it’s not an exhaustive list, the questions above are a good place to start when gathering as much information about the accident as possible. 

Additional Information to Gather 

In addition to questions about the accident itself, there are other potential questions you can ask witnesses that may provide you with valuable information as you begin the process of pursuing a claim to obtain the compensation you need. 

Relevant Expertise 

You truly never know who may have seen your accident or what they may do for a living and how it may apply to your situation. Asking questions to learn more about any relevant experience a witness may possess could yield highly beneficial information for your accident claim. 

Knowledge of Other Parties 

If any witnesses have knowledge about or previous experience with other parties involved in the accident, it could be helpful to include this information as you move forward with your claim. Any detail, no matter how seemingly small, could be used to strengthen your claim and improve your chances of getting the result you want. 

Contact Information

This may go without saying, but obtaining contact information for any and all witnesses of the accident is crucial. Throughout the claim process, there may be times when your attorney or insurance provider will have additional questions that arise, and being able to reach back out to contact the witnesses again is crucial. 

Here to Guide You Through the Claims Process

Like most situations involving legal matters, the car accident and injury claims processes can quickly become complicated and stressful. With an experienced car accident attorney working on your side, you can feel more confident that your best interests are being looked after.  

If you have been involved in a car accident in New York, including the surrounding areas of Mineola, New Hyde Park, Hempstead, Westbury, or Long Island, New York, reach out to me at the Law Office of Steven R. Smith today to schedule a consultation to discuss your situation.