In our capacity as Investigators, we are called on to obtain witness statements in a variety of locations with topics ranging from auto accidents, theft, fire loss, general liability, product liability, slip/trip/falls and worksite injuries just to name a few.
Statements can be obtained in video, audio, and written form. Normally the assigning Attorney will specify his or her personal preference but we have recently discontinued obtaining any handwritten statements in all but a handful of circumstances.
The quality of the interviewers questioning ability, experience, and preparedness should always show in the final document but may be lost in an illegible, poorly worded, handwritten statement without the proper opening preamble or closing.
Having faced the challenges of written statements our Investigators have migrated predominantly to audio recorded statements where the Investigator has the ability to ask more focused questions, obtain clearer more concise information and then transcribe the authorized audio recording into a purposeful first-person witness account for attestation and signature. Investigators can also retain audio clips with ease through phone apps which can be stored instantaneously in the company cloud without the need for additional paper files.
Audio statement costs, as compared to the handwritten statement, average about the same overall cost with far better results.
Video statements are becoming increasingly utilized in proper circumstances. Digital video statements can offer clients the ability to observe mannerism and movement while focusing on degrees of disability and injury. These statements tend to be more prevalent in defense cases but are increasingly utilized buy plaintiff counsel Investigators to get a better understanding of the statementized individual. Video does have its cons. Having larger files may be more difficult and costly to store, transcribe, and distribute due to different file extensions but should be considered an option when choosing the best format for your particular needs.