A witness is somebody who may have knowledge about events relating to an accident. Insurance companies and their investigators often obtain a statement from a witness to help them gather information about the claim determination process.
There are a number of ways a witness can give a statement. The statement can be taken over the phone and a typed version posted or emailed. A witness can provide their own written statement and sometimes the statement can be taken at home or at work.
You don’t have to give a statement, even if you’ve been nominated as a witness. Involvement in the process is voluntary. It is up to the witness to decide if they wish to participate.
Once a statement is provided to the insurance company it becomes part of the claim file. The statement can be released to third parties without your consent. There are times when the statement will not be released, for example, where it could impact on somebody’s health and wellbeing or on public safety grounds.
You are entitled to take a support person of your choice when you are providing the statement. This could be a lawyer, a friend or a relative. However it is inappropriate for a statement to be given in the presence of another witness to the same accident.
The statement should include facts from the direct knowledge of the witness. Statements that are long, emotive or contain opinion are generally unhelpful. The statement should focus on specific events surrounding the accident, including details of what the witness saw or heard.
It is important that you read the statement carefully and ensure that it is accurate before you sign it. If you sign an incorrect statement you may be committing an offence.