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Value of Witnesses in Accident Cases In California

If you have an accident in California, we cannot emphasize enough how important it is to obtain the identity of all favorable witnesses and their contact information should you need their testimony to win your case.

Two recent cases we handled within the past year show the importance of having witnesses even when you might believe the other party is at fault and witnesses might not be necessary.

In a recent premises liability case we settled for over two million ($2,000,000.00) dollars, the other side tried to place some comparative liability on our client because he had a few beers earlier in the day. In this case, the railing on a balcony broke, causing our client to fall to the ground. The other side tried to suggest our client may have jumped or fell due to intoxication. Our client was clearly not intoxicated, and even if he was, the railing breaking had nothing to do with moderate drinking. Nevertheless, the fact we secured statements from two others confirming only very moderate drinking and no intoxication, eliminated that issue from the defense attorney’s contentions.

In a recent trial of an auto collision case, the other side, represented by Mercury Insurance, offered only $7,000, claiming it was a minor rear end impact resulting in only minor injuries. The other party even testified at her deposition and then at trial that she was simply driving straight and slightly rear ended our client’s SUV, showing little visible damage. Fortunately, our client secured the name and telephone number of a witness, who testified immediately after the other driver testified at trial that the other driver was not merely driving straight and slightly rear ended our client, but rather was in the process of changing lanes, apparently misjudged distances and hit our client with at least moderate impact. The clincher was when it turned out the witness actually was an attorney who did most of his work defending people who cause accidents. This fact added to the witnesses’ credibility and his testimony helped explain why our client was injured for more than just a few days. The final recovery, with costs, was almost $40,000.00. Not a million dollar verdict, but clearly a lot more fair than Mercury’s low $7,000 pre-trial offer.

Thus, always secure favorable witnesses; and if you or anyone you care about need assistance with contacting any witnesses to an injury caused by another, please contact our firm for a free consultation.

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