Mitigating Factors For Favorable Outcome In An Auto-Accident Case
Interviewer: At the scene of an accident, what can people do to document their case to make sure that they have a case ?
Richard Sailer: Well what’s becoming more common and is very helpful is, with the rise of the smartphones people are able to take photographs of the vehicle positions, or the damage to the vehicle. It’s a lot easier to document the physical evidence you know – ten years ago people didn’t typically have a camera in their car with them, but now with the cameras on most phones we’re finding a lot more often that people have actual accident scene photos of damage to the vehicles. It’s important if they can get photos of skid marks, even to the extent of taking a photograph of the license plate of the other vehicle that hit them – then we can track that down through the department of motor vehicles if necessary, in the event that maybe a driver gives false information at the scene of the accident.
Pictures of an Auto Accident are Usually Disputed in Court
Interviewer: Well if you’re taking the pictures, I mean is it admissible? Will they try to say, ‘oh that didn’t happen, he made that up’?
Richard Sailer: Yes, they can argue what they’d like to argue but it’s difficult from a perspective of ‘how did you take a picture of your bumper up against my bumper, and I got a picture of your license – how did I get the photographs of your vehicle if the accident didn’t happen?’ In terms of evidentiary in court, if that case ended up in trial you’d have to lay the proper foundation for ‘who’, ‘what’, ‘when’, ‘where’ and ‘how’ of the photograph, and be able to lay the foundation to admit as evidence. But it does give us a leg-up in terms of investigating a case.
It is Advisable to Get Contact Information From Any Witnesses to An Auto Accident
Interviewer: What about witnesses – can you run around and ask people to be a witness? Will they do it?
Richard Sailer: Yes if you’ve got a witness that’s always great. I recommend getting the first and the last name, and a good contact phone number from them. Sometimes people are reluctant to get involved and sometimes people are very helpful in getting involved. And I guess it just depends on the attitude of the person who witnesses the accident.
People May Present Unsubstantiated Witnesses in An Auto-Accident Case
Interviewer: Do you ever have cases where the other party will allege that they had someone in that vehicle that wasn’t in fact there?
Richard Sailer: I haven’t had this situation where somebody claims they were in the car that wasn’t in the car but I have had situations where defendants will produce witnesses after the fact that either nobody else saw the scene of the accident or they weren’t interviewed by the police. Or even situations where an accident happens at, you know, 3 o’clock in the morning or in a desolate area, and after the fact the defendant will produce some witness who claims they were sitting on a bus stop or standing on the corner or what have you; that they really can’t be substantiated. It’s funny what people will do.