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Posted by on Nov 17, 2014 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Tips For Collecting Witness Statements After A Car Crash

Whether you’re submitting a claim to your insurance company or filing a personal injury lawsuit against another driver, witness statements will be an integral part of your case. Witnesses to the accident can provide added support to your side of the events, which can increase your chances of winning your case. Here are a few tips for obtaining credible witness statements after you’ve been in a car accident.

All Witnesses Are Not the Same

Although you’ll want to speak to anybody and everybody who was present at the scene and saw the accident, not all witnesses will be helpful to you. You want people whose testimony the judge or insurance investigator will find credible. If there is any doubt as to the veracity of your witness’ statement, your case could suffer as a result.

There are a number of things that can affect a witness’ credibility such as:

  • Did the witness view the accident from the beginning?
  • Were they in an area where they could see clearly?
  • Were they paying full attention to the events or were they distracted by other things such as a crying child or talking on their cell phone?
  • Have they been convicted of a crime? This doesn’t automatically disqualify the person as a credible witness but could throw the individual’s honesty into question.
  • Is there a conflict of interest? For example, is the witness related to the driver?
  • Was the witness impaired in some way? For instance, was the individual intoxicated or not wearing his or her prescription glasses?

It’s important that you make note of anything that may negatively affect how the witness’ testimony is viewed so you can either find a way to minimize the impact the issue has on your case or discard the person’s testimony altogether.

At the Accident Site

During the immediate aftermath of the accident is both the best and worst time to collect witness statements. On the one hand, the events are fresh in everyone’s mind so the accuracy of recall will be high. At the same time, accident scenes are typically chaotic and people are more focused on tending to injuries and assessing property damage to give their full attention to discussing the crash.

If there are injuries, it’s best to focus on getting medical attention and worry about collecting statements at a later time. If no one is hurt, though, then start talking to everyone at the scene. Use you cell phone or a digital camera to record statements from:

  • The driver of the vehicle
  • Passengers
  • People who stop to help
  • Nearby Road or utility workers

If you don’t have a recording device, have the witnesses write down what they saw on a piece of paper. Be certain to get their signatures. It may be helpful to keep blank witness statement forms in your glove box just for this eventuality. If a person doesn’t want to give a statement at that time, at least collect the person’s name and phone number so you, your attorney or your insurance company can contact the individual for a statement at a later time.

Be certain to get the contact information of the police officer at the scene so you can get copies of the police report and any witness statements the cop collects.

Locating Other Witnesses

There may have been other witnesses to the accident besides the people who were on the scene. This is particularly true if the crash occurred inside the city as opposed to on the highway.

As soon as possible, visit any houses or businesses in the area to locate people who may have seen the crash. Another option is to put up notices requesting witnesses contact you or your attorney. You should also look for video cameras that may have recorded the event. Be aware, though, you may need to have your attorney send a legal request to obtain any footage that may have been caught on tape.

As noted previously, having credible witnesses statements can help you win your case. Contact a car accident attorney if you need help getting people to testify on your behalf or litigating your case. Visit to learn more. 

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Posted by on Nov 17, 2014 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

Suing A Restaurant For A Food Allergy Situation

Living with a food allergy makes eating out somewhat more difficult, but if you’ve lived with this allergy for a while, you probably have a routine set up that helps you eat safely no matter where you go. Unfortunately, no matter how much effort you put forth, you may still end up eating something that you are allergic to. The results of this can be devastating in some cases, but you may be able to recover damages by suing the restaurant.

Responsibilities of Restaurants

More restaurants are taking steps towards learning about this subject, and many restaurants already have certain procedures in place to help prevent this problem from happening. Some of these things include:

  • Offering a special menu or certain entrees for people with food allergies
  • Educating cooks about prevention of cross-contamination and cross-contact
  • Teaching servers about food allergies

While many restaurants have policies for this purpose, there are still some that do not, and there are still times when situations occur when guests are served food that contains an ingredient they cannot eat.

A restaurant is responsible for informing guests of ingredients in all items. They are also responsible for ensuring that they offer true and accurate information about ingredients. A restaurant should also take every necessary step to make sure that the guest is served the right plate of food.

One thing a restaurant can do to protect itself is to post warnings. For example, if a restaurant uses peanut oil to deep-fry foods, it may want to post this on the walls and in the menu. Anyone with a peanut allergy would see this, and this would alarm the person of the risks of eating any food at this restaurant.

What Happens When The System Fails

If you take every necessary precaution to find out what ingredients are in a particular dish and end up being rushed to the hospital because the dish had something you were allergic to, you might have the right to sue the restaurant for this.

There are many ingredients people are allergic to, but most food allergies fall into one of eight different foods. Some of these are fish, peanuts, and wheat. Health Central reports that approximately 150 people die each year from food allergies, but thousands of people are affected by food allergies every year.

Challenges of Lawsuits

While you have the right to file a personal injury case against the restaurant, the hardest part will be proving it. Proving that the restaurant caused your allergic reaction and that the restaurant is liable for this is the main challenge you will have. To prove this, you will need to hire a personal injury lawyer, like those at Meltzer and Meksraitis, that has experience with this subject.

Your attorney will probably want to know what precautions you took to make sure that you did your part to avoid eating the wrong ingredient. Next, the attorney will look into the procedures the restaurant uses for ensuring that cross-contact of food is prevented.

The best way to win a case like this is to prove negligence. Negligence is one of the main elements of personal injury law. In a food allergy case, negligence can occur in many ways, including:

  • Customers being misinformed from employees
  • Cooks preparing the wrong food and serving it to a guest with food allergies
  • Cooks accidentally adding an ingredient they were supposed to omit
  • Restaurant providing inaccurate ingredient lists for entrees

These are just some of the ways negligence can be proved. If you are able to prove that the restaurant was negligent in any way, you might have a good chance of winning the case. If this happens to you, contact a lawyer for help. You can find out from your lawyer if you have enough evidence to win the case, and this will help you decide whether to sue or not.

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