Questioning a witness of an auto accident

The following outline is for information that a lawyer might ask of a witness to a car accident. These witnesses may be eyewitnesses, but they could also be ambulance personnel and wrecker operators who arrived at the scene of the car accident later.

Some of the items in this sample outline apply only to certain types of witnesses, and would not be used with others.

These questions might be used by either your personal injury lawyer or by the defense lawyer in the lawsuit.

Identity and personal data

What is your name?
Where do you work?
What is your experience driving cars?
What training have you had involving injuries or car accidents?

Your arrival at the scene of the car accident

When did you arrive?
Why were you were on the scene?
Did you have any problems arriving at the scene (e.g., visibility, stopping, obstacles)?
Did you see the accident happen?

The accident

(Omit this area if the witness did not see the car accident.)
When you first saw them:
    Where were the cars?
    What were their speeds?
    Were there other vehicles in the area? If so, what were they doing?
After you first saw them:
    What were the movements of the cars?
    Did either car sound its horn, apply its breaks, slow down, give any signal?
Was a stop sign or traffic control sign/signal involved? If so, what was the sign or signal, was there any obstruction of vision to it?
How long was it from when you first saw the vehicles until impact?
At the moment of impact what were the positions of the vehicles?
Describe the movement of the vehicles after the moment of impact.
After the vehicles came to rest after the collision, were the vehicles moved? If so, by whom and to where?

Pedestrian involvement (if any)

Where did the pedestrian come from?
Was he/she walking/running?
Was he/she carrying anything?
What kind of clothing and color?
Was he/she disabled or aided by something?
Were others with him/her?
Was he/she looking in another direction?
Describe the course and all movements of pedestrian.
Was there any obstruction of vision between you and pedestrian or between the drivers and the pedestrian?

Condition of the plaintiff

What injuries did you see?
What did the plaintiff say?
How did the plaintiff leave the scene?
What was the plaintiff’s condition during transport?
What treatment was provided during transport?

Property damage and scene debris

What damage was there to cars or to objects at the scene?
What debris or other items were left that showed the occurrence?
How were the cars removed from the scene? By whom?