Securing Witnesses Following an Accident
Vehicle Collision Lawyers Representing Schaumburg and Wheaton Residents
Following a car accident, it can be challenging to determine fault. According to law, a driver that causes a vehicle collision may be held accountable through a personal injury claim. Evidence is critical because the plaintiff victim must set forth a strong showing of liability, the legal term for fault. By securing witnesses following an accident, plaintiffs can strengthen their case and defend against potential accusations of blame. At Therman Law Offices, we help injured individuals and their loved ones seek compensation following a motor vehicle collision. For more than three decades, our Wheaton and Schaumburg car accident attorneys have helped accident victims seek compensation for their injuries.
Securing Witnesses Following an Accident
After a vehicle collision, injured individuals should first seek medical attention. If you reported the accident to law enforcement, they may respond, interview witnesses and prepare a police report that summarizes the results of their investigation. During the wait for law enforcement, it may be possible to locate potential witnesses from the surrounding areas. Witnesses should be independent bystanders, who lack any personal interest in the outcome of a potential lawsuit. For example, a passing pedestrian or construction worker may have seen the accident and be capable of providing their version of the facts. Other drivers or passengers of stopped vehicles not involved in the crash may also be able to help.
By providing a detailed account of the incident, a witness may strengthen the plaintiff’s claim for damages. Most smartphones include mobile applications that can be used to record audio or video statements by witnesses. The witness can sign and date a document if they provide a written account. Even if the witness does not recall exactly what happened, they may state facts that support your version of the accident.
Witness Statements and Proving Negligence Following a Vehicle Accident
In most personal injury lawsuits following a vehicle accident, the plaintiff’s case centers on a negligence claim. Negligence is the legal term for failing to act reasonably according to the circumstances surrounding the accident, such as the weather, speed of surrounding cars and road conditions. These all affect an assessment of reasonable behavior. For instance, during a rainstorm, reasonable drivers should slow down their vehicles to compensate for the reduced visibility and increased stopping distance required on wet roads.
To satisfy all elements of a negligence claim, the plaintiff must show that the defendant had a duty to act with care, breached this duty, and directly caused their harm. For example, if a driver sped through a red light at an intersection and caused a crash, that conduct may constitute a breach of the duty of care. This duty is an expectation that drivers avoid operating their vehicle in a way that places others at risk. In this scenario, if the driver’s conduct caused a crash and injuries, they may be required to compensate the plaintiff victim.
Witness statements are important to a successful negligence claim because they support the plaintiff’s credibility and may undermine the credibility of the other driver. For example, to prove the causation element of a negligence claim, the plaintiff must show there were no other factors that led to the crash. Securing witnesses following an accident that could testify that the defendant was distracted and texting on a mobile phone shortly before rear-ending the plaintiff’s car would be helpful. This statement potentially defeats any allegation by the defendant that the victim also contributed to the crash.
If a judge or jury determines that the plaintiff is partly responsible for the accident, then their damages award may be reduced. Modified comparative negligence applies throughout Illinois, and this doctrine affects the amount of damages the plaintiff recovers according to their percentage of fault. If the plaintiff is held to be 50% or more at fault, they will not recover compensation.
Speak to an Experienced Wheaton and Schaumburg Lawyer
At Therman Law Offices, our Schaumburg or Wheaton attorneys help injury victims secure compensation from those responsible for causing the accident. We are proud to help people throughout the communities of Harwood Heights, Norridge, Park Ridge, Des Plaines, Norwood Park, Edison Park, Rosemont, Elmwood Park, Elk Grove Village, Arlington Heights, and Mt. Prospect. Call our office at 773-545-8849 or contact us online to set up a free consultation with a dedicated lawyer who can help.