The importance of getting witness contact information at the scene of the accident

Why Collecting Witness Contact Info at the Scene of an Accident Is Important

witness contact information

There are roughly 6 million car accidents in the United States each year, and about 3 million people are injured in vehicle-related collisions annually. The good news is that Illinois ranks 40th on a list of the states with the most car accidents. But should you be involved in a vehicle-related collision in the Prairie State, one of the first steps recommended by a personal injury attorney is to collect witness contact information at the scene. Here’s why.

Witnesses Provide Important Details

The most obvious reason to get witness info at the scene of an accident is because witnesses are often able to provide important details about what happened. In fact, many personal injury cases are built on credible eyewitnesses. The reason to collect contact info ASAP is because witnesses can quietly and quickly disappear. So, if you don’t secure contact details at the scene, you may be out of luck by the time you have a chance to talk to an attorney about your accident.

Witnesses Tracked Down Later Can Have Flawed Memories

If contact info isn’t immediately gathered, it might take some real investigative work to track down and even identify witnesses. Also, if witnesses can be tracked down several weeks or months later, human memory can be flawed with the passage of even a brief period of time. Recollection can also be skewed or swayed by news stories witnesses may have read or seen about the accident. There’s also the possibility that the other party’s lawyer may have already contacted and influenced a witness by the time they are tracked down by your attorney.

Statements from Impartial Parties Are More Credible

Testimonies of any family members or friends who may have witnessed an accident are worth something legally, but such statements or testimonies can also be called into question by an attorney. However, if you have witness statements from impartial individuals without a stake in the outcome of any resulting legal action, you’ll be more likely to make the right kind of impression in court or gain important leverage during settlement negotiations.

Witness Statements Can Encourage Settlements

Most vehicle accident cases begin with a discovery phase. This is when each side explores evidence related to the accident along with any additional information either party may have gathered. If several credible statements from witnesses reveal, for example, that the alleged responsible party was talking on their phone or fiddling with their radio at the time of the accident, that individual may be more inclined to admit their fault and reach a mutually acceptable settlement.

How a Personal Injury Attorney Uses Witness Contact Info

FGM Law serving clients in the Crystal Lake, IL, area typically uses witness contact information to interview these individuals about what they observed. This information may also be used to call witnesses to testify if there is a need to clarify what they said in their initial statements. Depending on the circumstances involved with the case, witness statements may be used to refute claims made by an alleged responsible party or identify other drivers or factors that played a role in an accident in accordance with Illinois rules of evidence. With a better understanding of an accident, an attorney can make well-informed legal recommendations, be in a better position to negotiate a settlement, or build a stronger case.