Whether you're shopping at the mall, walking down the street, or otherwise going about your daily business, your day can get turned upside down when you witness an accident. People are naturally curious, so you may hang out to watch the aftermath — only to have the victim or someone associated with him or her approach you and ask if you witnessed what happened. If you indeed saw the accident take place, this person may ask you to serve as a witness in court. While your initial instinct might be to pass because you don't want to get involved, here are some details to think about before you say no.
You Have the Chance to Help the Person
When an injury victim hires an attorney and attempts to pursue a settlement, the testimony of witnesses is often critical. It's possible that you were the only witness at the scene, and if this is the case, declining the person's request could be highly disruptive to his or her case. You should know that offering your help as a witness may make an instrumental difference in the person's life. For example, if he or she were hit by a car and unable to work for a prolonged period of time, your witness statement could be a difference maker in helping the victim get a fair settlement.
You'd Want Witnesses If the Roles Were Reversed
As an accident victim, there's perhaps nothing more frustrating than knowing that someone witnessed what happened to you but doesn't want to get involved. Try to put yourself in the shoes of the victim, and imagine how grateful you'd likely feel to anyone who agreed to help you by serving as a witness and writing a statement about what happened. You may see some degree of desperation in the victim as he or she asks you for help, and this could create empathy on your part.
It's an Opportunity to Make Someone Pay
While you shouldn't go into the process of writing a witness statement with a vendetta against the person who caused the accident, you should remember that your role in the case may be an opportunity to get justice. For example, if it's apparent that the person who caused the accident was breaking the law — doing something egregious, such as drinking and driving — you might feel a sense of duty to firmly plant yourself on the right side of justice and help ensure that the person doesn't get off without some form of punishment.
To learn more, talk to companies like Gartner Law Firm today.