Witness Statement Checklist (Updated each winter)
Witness statements; seem simple enough. The attorney needs the incident/accident details; recorded in an accurate and concise manner. Often, however, it is the experience of both the seasoned accident investigator and the harried trial lawyer to have obtained a witness statement (usually out in the field) only to realize later that it is not as comprehensive as he or she would have liked. Especially in multi-vehicle accidents with serious/fatal injuries (as in the above vid), the investigator needs to be extremely thorough.
BNI’s founders sought to alleviate this concern for attorneys and conducted an in-depth review of witness statements obtained over the course of its decade in the private investigation field. After a careful study, we’ve created incident-appropriate Witness Statement Checklists for the investigative and trial law professional. This week, we’ve attached a Witness Statement Checklist relating to motor vehicle accidents.
WITNESS STATEMENT CHECKLIST (MVA)
This checklist contains items that must be addressed for a witness statement to be considered complete. One checklist per involved vehicle.
1. WITNESS PEDIGREE (to include name, address, phone # (home, cell, work,) DOB, SSN,employment/scholastic and licensed driver info, and email addresses.
2. WEATHER CONDITIONS (including possible glare)
3. LIGHTING CONDITIONS
4. SURFACE CONDITIONS (roadways, shoulders…)
5. DEBRIS/CONSTRUCTION PRESENT
6. DESCRIPTION OF ROADWAY (# of lanes, travel direction, divider present…)
7. SIGN DEVICES/PRESENCE OF TRAFFIC AGENT
8. DIRECTION OF TRAVEL OF PARTICIPANTS (drivers/pedestrians…)
9. DESCRIPTION OF ACCIDENT (detailed)
10. ALCOHOL/DRUG INVOLVEMENT
11. WHERE WAS THE DRIVER GOING?
12. RATE OF SPEED
13. FORCE OF IMPACT
14. DAMAGE TO VEHICLE (detailed)
15. POSITION OF OCCUPANTS
16. OBSERVABLE INJURIES SUSTAINED (detailed)
17. MEDICAL ATTENTION RECEIVED AT SCENE
18. EMERGENCY/OFFICIAL VEHICLE AND PERSONNEL RESPONSE
19. POSITION OF VEHICLE AFTER IMPACT
20. SUMMONSES ISSUED
21. STATEMENT(S) MADE AT SCENE
22. ADDITIONAL WITNESSES
23. WAS THE VEHICLE TOWED?
BNI Operatives: Street smart: Net savvy.
To all who have, and those that continue to, serve, our thoughts are with you this Veteran’s Day,