NEW NEWS: New York passes law making it illegal to list short-term rentals on Airbnb (update 01.13.2017) Unless you’re renting it out for longer than 30 days, renting out your apartment in NY is against the law.
Witness statements are critical to just about every case a lawyer undertakes. Among the many items that a thorough statement provides the attorney, the initial intake should contain verification of the incident occurrence, liability potential and causal factors. For the purpose of being thorough, we have developed proprietary witness statement checklist for various types incidents – ranging from motor vehicle accidents (MVAs) to construction site accidents to elevator/escalator incidents and everything in between. Below is a sample of our standard MVA witness statement checklist. (Of course, each incident is unique so the investigator taking the statement should be aware of all of the comments made by a witness, including those not listed on this checklist.)
MVA WITNESS STATEMENT CHECKLIST
This checklist contains items that must be addressed for a witness statement to be considered complete. (One checklist per vehicle involved.)
1. WITNESS PEDIGREE (to include name, address, phone, DOB, SSN, employment/education and licensed driver info)
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. TRAFFIC SIGNS/ 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 RENDERED 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? WHERE?
Our witness statement reports contain not only the witness statements themselves, but assessments of the witnesses interviewed (and the packet can be expanded to a full site survey which includes diagrams, 360-degree photos/video, 3-d modeling, if required. light sequences and full measurements). The investigator is usually the first in the field, well before the attorney takes a witness’ deposition months from the date of occurrence, therefore, it is vital for the attorney, from the outset, to have an indication of the witness’ recall, stability and ability to withstand examination.
BNI Operatives: Situationally aware.
As always, be safe.