Given that witnesses form such an important part of the legal cases we encounter in books and on television, it’s understandable that people sometimes ask, ‘Do I need a witness to claim?’. It’s certainly useful to have a witness to claim, but, in fact, there is no legal requirement for this in accident cases. Evidence that supports your account of what happened can be collected in a number of ways. If you’re not sure how strong your case is likely to be without a witness, give us a call at Accident Advice Helpline and we can discuss it.
The advice you need
At Accident Advice Helpline we’re always ready to help you make sense of accident law and our advice won’t cost you anything, even if you decide not to claim. Our team is well trained in what we realise can be complicated issues and they understand how accidents can affect people, so they will always be sympathetic. They’ll be able to tell you if your case has potential and if you wish, they can put you in touch with a suitable solicitor. If you change your mind during this conversation, or if you want some time to think about it, that is fine.
Who can witness?
In some situations, people come to us thinking that they have no witnesses when, in fact, they do. This could be because they had an accident at work that only their boss saw and they think that a boss can’t witness against the company, whereas a boss can be legally compelled to do so, can’t be penalised as a result and may actually want to help.
Someone who has heard an accident happen, but did not see it, cannot be treated as a witness, but can still make a statement that can be submitted as evidence. This means that they can still add weight to a case.
Someone who didn’t witness the accident itself, but can testify that a particular place was dangerous, for instance, a neighbour who can confirm the presence of a loose paving stone that caused a fall, can also give a useful statement.
If you are aware of anybody like this who might be able to help your claim, don’t try to take a statement from him or her yourself. Obtain their contact details instead and pass them to your solicitor, who will deal with things from there.
When nobody can testify
Sometimes there is no one who can provide a helpful statement like this, but there may well be sufficient other evidence so that you don’t need a witness to claim. There may be CCTV recordings of your accident, for example, or written records confirming that the area was dangerous. Your solicitor can track down things like this. What you can do, if you’re well enough, is take photographs of the place where the accident happened to make it easier to explain events. You can also take photos of your own injuries so that a court can see something of how you were affected. All of these things can help to build a case that stands a good chance of getting you the compensation you deserve.