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Finding Witnesses in Your Personal Injury Case

Posted on in Personal Injury

Finding Witnesses in Your Personal Injury CaseWitnesses can provide important supporting evidence during a personal injury case. Their statements hold weight in lawsuits and insurance claims because they are usually neutral parties. Witnesses are often available for car accidents because the incidents take place on public roads. However, car accident victims need to obtain witness statements soon after the incident. A witness becomes less credible over time because his or her memory of the incident will fade. Your attorney can help you in contacting potential witnesses but was most likely not at the scene of your accident. Assuming you are physically capable of doing so, you can help by talking to people at the scene.

Identifying Good Witnesses

A car accident will draw the attention of everyone around you, but the most helpful witness is someone who saw the circumstances leading to the accident. The witness may be able to explain which party’s actions were at fault for the accident. However, there are several ways a defense attorney may question the credibility of a witness, such as whether:

  • The witness gives consistent and coherent statements;
  • Anything could have distracted the witness, including his or her own driving;
  • The witness has poor eyesight or memory;
  • The witness has a history of being dishonest; or
  • The witness has a vested interest in the outcome of the case.

Talking to Witnesses

If you are fortunate, witnesses will approach you at the scene of the accident and offer to provide supporting statements of the other party’s fault. In other cases, you may need to ask nearby observers if they witnessed the accident and are willing to sign a statement explaining what they saw. This may include drivers, pedestrians and people in adjacent businesses. In either case, you will need to:

  • Obtain the names and contact information of any potential witnesses; and
  • If possible, write down or record their initial statements from the scene.

With the help of your attorney, you can contact the witnesses later in order for them to type up more official statements. Having their initial statements can help them remember what they saw at the scene.

Building a Case

Not all car accident victims are capable of providing this much initial help in obtaining witnesses. Some are incapacitated from the accident, while others are too upset to think about potential witnesses. A McHenry County personal injury attorney at Botto Gilbert Lancaster, PC, will find credible witnesses to support your personal injury case. Schedule a free consultation by calling 815-338-3838.

Source:

https://www.illinoislegalaid.org/legal-information/auto-accidents-lawyer-manual

Illinois State Bar Association State Bar of Wisconsin Crystal Lake Chamber of Commerce Illinois Trial Lawyers Association McHenry County Bar Association
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