legal blog

Car Accidents Claims and Witnesses

Written by Jared Staver

Read Jared's Bio

Jared Staver is a Personal Injury Lawyer based in Chicago, Illinois and has been practicing law for over 20 years.

Jared Staver

CATEGORY: Auto Accidents, Personal Injury, Truck Accidents


When you get into a car accident in Illinois, it’s not always clear which party is at fault, and it may be your word against the other driver’s. In a complicated scenario, securing third-party witnesses can become crucial to winning your personal injury claim. After an accident, you should definitely scout for neutral bystanders such as pedestrians, cyclists, local residents, and other drivers or passengers.

Looking for Possible Witnesses

The aftermath of a serious car crash can be confusing and overwhelming. You should be immediately concerned with any physical injuries, and address your needs first. However, while waiting for police officers to arrive at the scene, you can use the time to search for potential witnesses.

When talking to witnesses, you should:

  • Always be polite and introduce yourself.
  • Have a pen and paper ready.
  • Ask the person to write down exactly what he saw or heard using as much detail as possible.
  • Have the person sign and date at the bottom of his statement.
  • Take down the witness’ name, address, and phone number for future investigation.
  • Never badger a witness who feels uncomfortable with providing a statement.
  • Try not to argue your side of the story or twist someone else’s words.

Additionally, many busy Chicago roads such as North Clark Street and Irving Park Road are filled with restaurants, convenience stores, and other shops. You can try asking store employees and customers at nearby stores if they happened to see the accident from a window.

Using Witness Testimony in Your Car Accident Case

Typically, insurers will ask for witness statements when there are competing versions of an auto accident. While it can be beneficial to gather multiple witnesses, not all testimony will be helpful to your case. As a general rule, your witnesses should be complete strangers, with no relation to either party and no conflicting interests in the outcome of the claim. It is also important to find credible witnesses who can testify in court in the event your case goes to trial.

Here are five factors you must consider in determining the credibility of a car accident witness:

  • Whether or not the person observed the incident from start to finish.
  • Whether or not the person was distracted or intoxicated at any point.
  • Whether or not the person has reliable eyesight.
  • Whether or not the person has a criminal history and honest reputation.
  • The distance at which the person witnessed the accident from.

How a Chicago Car Accident Injury Attorney Can Help

An experienced Chicago car accident injury attorney can help you secure witness testimony, and decide how to best use witnesses to substantiate your claim. The knowledgeable personal injury attorneys at Staver Accident Injury Lawyers, P.C. will be able to guide you through every step of the legal process. We believe that if you were hurt in a motor vehicle accident due to someone else’s negligence, you should not be held responsible for the damages. Our dedicated team of lawyers will fight for the compensation that you deserve. Schedule a free case assessment today at (312) 236-2900 to start your journey to recovery.

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(312) 236-2900
(312) 236-2900
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