How to Write a Victim Impact Statement for a Car Accident
When you’re the victim of a car accident, it can have a devastating impact on your life. People experience painful injuries, lifelong physical injuries, trauma, PTSD, anxiety, stress, and more. Additionally, a victim could have lost a friend or loved one who was in the accident with them.
If you’re the victim of a car accident that wasn’t your fault, you may want to pursue a lawsuit against the other party. One factor that can significantly impact your case is a victim impact statement. Keep reading for a full overview of what a victim impact statement for a car accident is, how to write one, some popular tips, and an example statement.
What is a Victim Impact Statement?
A victim impact statement is a personally written account of how the car accident affected you. Many times, a serious car accident can have long-standing consequences. It’s an opportunity for a victim to explain the full extent the car accident may have had. For example, a police report may mention that the victim had a broken leg. But, what might not be mentioned is the other consequences, like:
- Time off of work
- Hospital bills
- Cost and time of physiotherapy appointments
- Canceled vacations or plans
- Stress, anxiety, or depression when it comes to driving
- The impact of the injuries and accident on friends and family
Your victim statement is a comprehensive overview of how the individual’s life has changed due to the car accident.
How to Write a Victim Impact Statement
A victim impact statement for a car accident doesn’t need to focus on the details of the accident itself. You shouldn’t feel that this is the time to explain what happened and who is at fault. That will be covered in the legal proceedings. Instead, the victim impact statement should discuss the physical, mental, emotional, and financial impacts you’ve experienced.
Wrapping up the whole experience in a statement can feel overwhelming. Here are some tips to walk you through the process:
- Start with the emotional impact. You can discuss how you felt that day and how you feel now. You were probably scared and shocked on the day and might still feel anger and fear today. Describe these emotions in as much detail as you can so the jury can understand just how emotionally traumatizing the car accident was.
- After covering the emotions, you can transition into your physical injuries and disabilities. You’ll want to cover how much these injuries hurt, how long and challenging recovery has been, if recovery made you take time off work, time lost with family, friends, hobbies, and other consequences. You may want to wrap this up in a personal story. Some common examples are having to cancel a booked and paid vacation because you were recovering. Or, having to become a burden and reliant on your family members during recovery, which impacted them as much as you. You need to go over these details, so the jury understands the full consequences of your injuries.
- Lastly, you’ll want to emphasize the financial consequences. You can cover how much this accident cost you in terms of healthcare and recovery costs, wages lost at work, and more. This will help the jury decide the amount of compensation you and your family may deserve.
Do’s & Don’ts Of Writing A Victim Impact Statement for a Car Accident
While writing your victim statement, try to keep these common do’s and dont’s in mind:
- Do: Write in “I feel” and “I believe” statements rather than definitive “The defendant did…” statements. You should only include what you believe to be true, as the defendant can question the legitimacy of your statements.
- Don’t: Use this as an opportunity to go over the details of the accident and lay blame on the defendant.
- Do: Express your emotions clearly, add details, and paint a picture of what you’ve been through.
- Don’t: Mention the type of punishment you think or want the defendant to receive.
- Do: Have someone review your statement for proper spelling and grammar.
- Don’t: Swear in your statement; it can cause the jury to see you in a negative light.
- Do: Staple and include related paperwork that can help verify your statements, such as receipts.
Example of A Victim Impact Statement
On August 25, 2021, at the intersection of Fir Street and 96th Avenue in San Diego, California, I was in a car accident with Mr. Smith. The accident happened at approximately 2:00 in the afternoon. My car was totaled as a result of the accident and I walked away with a broken arm.
That day, I had left work for a brief period to go to a routine doctor’s appointment. It was easily the most shocking and traumatizing experience of my life having a car ram into the side of my driver’s door. I couldn’t get out of the car and I sat there shocked with my arm pinned under the wheel. The paramedics arrived on the scene and were able to pull me out. I remember screaming in pain like I have never screamed before. I was taken to the hospital and informed I had broken my arm.
It took nine weeks for me to fix my broken arm. I had to cancel a vacation I had booked for Mexico. I also had to move into my parent’s home, so my mom could take care of me. I became a burden to those I love most, needing help eating, changing my clothes, showering, and more. I couldn’t even go to the grocery store and take my debit card out of my wallet to pay for my groceries. I needed someone to come with me everywhere I went. I felt helpless, useless, and an annoyance to everyone.
During my recovery, I had to take a leave of absence from work, losing nine weeks of wages. The hospital bills alone were tremendous, but I have also been in six months of physiotherapy. Not only are those appointments expensive, but they take up my time every week.
Today, I still don’t have full use of my arm. There’s a dull pain that shoots down my arm constantly. More importantly, I haven’t driven a car since the accident. I still have trouble getting into a car. I experience flashbacks and sometimes have panic attacks.
This accident has shattered me in every single way – financially, mentally, physically, and emotionally. I don’t know when I will be the same again, but it’s quite possible I’ve been changed forever. I ask the court to consider the full impact this accident has had on my life when deciding on a settlement. The jury needs to understand that I am not who I used to be and it’s been hard to reconcile that for myself, my family, and my friends.
Thank you for listening to me today.
Why Write A Victim Impact Statement?
The point of the victim impact statement is for the individual to present a more complete picture of how the car accident changed their lives, either for the short-term or the long-term. The added benefit is that writing and reading out a victim statement can feel very therapeutic. It allows the victim to feel heard and tell their side of the story to the person who caused the accident or to the court.
Lastly, a victim impact statement adds a personal touch to your lawsuit. It’s an opportunity to speak to the jury, so you can get the compensation you deserve.
Contact Us For Car Accident Legal Representation
If you’ve been in a car accident, consider getting legal representation so you and your family can get the maximum compensation for your injuries. Our experienced car accident lawyers have helped thousands of injured drivers get their rightful compensation. We’ll help you in every step of the process, including your victim impact statement for your car accident. Contact us today for a free consultation.