Questions to Ask Car Accident Witnesses

Illinois is an at-fault car accident state. On the one hand, that means that if someone else caused the accident, an injured person could seek compensation for medical bills and related losses by filing a claim with the negligent party’s insurance. On the other hand, an injured person will need to prove that the accident resulted from someone else’s negligence in order to obtain compensation through an insurance claim. Doing so requires substantial evidence that the other party caused the accident through their negligent behavior. Car accident witness statements can play a significant role in a case.

Questions to Ask a Witness After a Car Crash Witness

Identifying witnesses at the scene of the wreck is an important step to take in the immediate aftermath. If you’re physically able, get their names and contact information and ask if they’d be willing to provide statements right then. Their statements may be most valuable when their memories are clearest.

Questions to ask a car accident witness after a wreck include:

  • Can you describe what you saw, heard, or otherwise witnessed?
  • Where were you when you witnessed the wreck?
  • What were you doing at the time of the wreck?
  • How far were you from the spot of the collision?
  • How clear was your view of the crash?
  • Were you distracted during the time you witnessed the collision?
  • Do you know of anyone else who witnessed the crash but may not be present now?
  • What did you do after witnessing the crash?
  • Can you describe the weather conditions and road conditions?
  • Did you hear anyone involved in the crash say anything? If so, what?
  • Did you hear anything noteworthy another witness may have said? For example, did you hear a witness describe in detail how they thought the accident occurred?
  • Do you know anyone involved in the wreck?
  • Can you guess the approximate speeds of the vehicles involved in the crash?
  • Which direction were the vehicles coming from?

Don’t try to influence the witness’s answers to your questions. A witness’s testimony is only valuable if you can rely on it for accuracy.

You may also ask a witness if they have any expertise or experience that can add weight to their statements. For example, maybe a witness is a retired police officer. Someone in this position has professional experience observing crashes with objectivity. Testimony from this type of car accident witness can be particularly helpful.

How to Find a Witness After a Car Crash

You’re likely reading this after already sustaining injuries in a collision. In the confusion after your crash, you might not have taken the time to identify witnesses. It may still be possible to find a car accident witness days or even weeks after a collision.

Ways to potentially find a car accident witness after the crash include:

  • Visiting homes or businesses near the scene of the crash. Although they may not have stepped outside, people in nearby homes or businesses may have witnessed your wreck. They might have watched it happen through windows or from other vantage points on their properties.
  • Requesting a copy of the police accident report. After a motor vehicle wreck, calling 911 to report it is essential. The officer who investigated your crash may have identified witnesses when writing up a report. You may request a copy of a crash report online or visit the relevant law enforcement agency to request a copy.
  • Obtaining copies of the footage from any CCTV cameras in the vicinity.
  • Posting on community pages on social media asking if anyone knows of witnesses.

Be very careful with that last step. Don’t post much information about your wreck on social media aside from the basics. An insurance company could use anything you post on social media against you during settlement negotiations.

Who Can Be a Witness After a Car Accident?

Questions to Ask Car Accident Witnesses

Car accident witnesses could be:

  • Your passengers
  • Nearby motorists
  • Nearby pedestrians
  • Nearby homeowners, business owners, and workers

Virtually anyone who witnesses a car wreck could potentially serve as a car accident witness in your case. This includes relatives and close friends. The fact that someone may have a close relationship with you doesn’t invalidate their testimony.

Contact an Illinois Car Accident Attorney Today

Identifying witnesses and gathering statements from them is an important task when building a car accident case. However, this isn’t a task you need to tackle on your own.

At JJ Legal, our Illinois car accident attorneys can help you put together a strong claim featuring witness statements. If you haven’t identified and interviewed witnesses yourself yet, we can do so on your behalf. Learn more about how we can help by contacting us online today or calling us at 312-200-2000 for a free case review.

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