If you witness a motorcycle accident or car accident please stay around, if at all possible, and talk to the police. The information that you give the officer investigating the motorcycle accident or car accident could help the officer determine who was at fault in the accident. Even if you think that it is clear who was at fault, I urge you to stick around and tell the officer what you say.
There is a large number of accidents where an officer will come on the scene and each driver will say that they are not at fault or each driver blames the other driver for causing the accident. In a lot of those circumstances, when there is no neutral witness, the officer will make a determination they do not know who was at fault in the accident. But, most times, one of those drivers is actually at fault in the accident but without a witness the officer does not know who to believe. That is why, if you witness an accident, it is vitally important that you stick around if possible and talk with the officer.
The most common area I encounter along these lines are intersection accidents where each driver says they had the green light. There is no doubt that one of those drivers actually had the red light, but in most of those circumstances the officer cannot determine who was at fault unless there is a neutral witness who saw which driver actually had the green light.
What happens when there is a collision and there are no witnesses, the officer cannot determine who is at fault in an accident and each driver is pointing their finger at the other driver? Each driver will tell their own insurance company they are not at fault, and when the insurance companies review the official motor vehicle accident report prepared by the investigating officer, they will see that the officer cannot determine who is at fault. In that situation, each driver’s insurance company will deny the personal injury and property damage claims of the other driver. So, each driver has to go under their own insurance to handle the damage to their vehicle, and if a driver does not have collision coverage there is no insurance company that will pay for the damage. Also, there is no motor vehicle insurance company to pay for a driver’s personal injury claim (i.e., medical expenses, lost wages and pain and suffering). In this scenario, if one party has their claim denied and they file a lawsuit, the party has to be able to prove by the preponderance of the evidence (greater than 50%) that the other driver was legally responsible for the accident. But, if there are no neutral witnesses and each driver’s version of the accident could have taken place, we have the proverbial “he said, she said” and it is likely that the person pursuing the lawsuit will not be successful.
So, if you are a witness to a motorcycle accident, car accident, truck accident, pedestrian accident, scooter accident, bicycle accident, please stay at the scene, if at all possible, and talk to the investigating officer. If there is some place that you have to be at the time, then give your name and telephone number to the driver not responsible for the accident, tell them why you cannot stick around, and have them give your name and number to the investigating officer.
Gary Poole, North Carolina Motorcycle Accident Attorney – “On the Side of Those Who Ride”