When a claimant is injured in an automobile accident or slip and fall accident the Defendant’s insurance company will start their investigation to determine if their insured has any legal exposure to the possible loss.
In an automobile accident injury claim, the claimant’s insurance company will have their insured fill out an AB-1 Notice of Loss and Proof of Claim Form. The Claimant’s insurance company will then begin their investigation to determine who is liable for the accident. The Claimant’s insurance company will want to know all the names and contact details of any witnesses who saw the accident occur.
In a slip and fall accident, the property occupier may have the injured person fill out an incident report and they will forward it to their insurer. The property occupier’s insurer will start their investigation to see if they have any legal exposure to the loss. The property insurer will also want to know all the names and contact details for each witness who saw the accident.
Witnesses to Auto Accidents
In Alberta, the operation of automobiles is governed by the Traffic Safety Act and the Use of Highway and Rules of the Road Regulation. In some accidents, liability is not easy to determine because the claimant and the Defendant’s version of how the accident happened are very different. A good example of this is when the Defendant states the light was yellow when she was making a left-hand turn and the claimant states the light was green while she was proceeding through the intersection. An accident like this could end up being split 50/50, this means each party is 50 percent responsible for the other party’s losses.
If the witnesses confirm the light was solid green, the vehicle making the left-hand turn would likely be at fault for the accident and the claimant will be compensated fully for their loss. Without the witness evidence, both insurance companies would likely take the position that each party is 50 percent liable for the accident even if the claimant’s version of the events were accurate.
Witnesses to Slip and Fall Accidents
In Alberta, the Occupier’s Liability Act sets out the duty of care a property occupier has to visitors. If a visitor is injured on the property, the occupier might be held liable for the loss. A witness who sees the slip and fall occur can confirm how the accident occurred and the condition of the property. If the witness’s evidence is favorable to the claimant, it could strengthen the claim and give the claimant a better chance at recovering damages for their injury loss.
Make Sure to Get all Witness Names and Contact Details
While every accident is fact driven, witness evidence is an important component to all injury claims. The Courts tend to rely more on an unbiased witness’s evidence over the claimant’s and defendant’s evidence. Insurance companies also put a lot of weight on an unbiased witness’s evidence.
When you are involved in an accident that results in an injury, you should always try and get the names of all the people who witnessed the incident. This will help your lawyer, the Defendant’s insurer and the Courts to determine if the Defendant is liable for the loss.
One of the most recommended and best practices is to make use of a DASH CAM. Over the years, dash cams have become very inexpensive and some decent quality ones are less than one hundred dollars.