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Victim Impact Statement Example

Legally Reviewed and Edited by: Terry Cochran

Car accidents often lead to severe injuries and disrupt lives, usually because someone is careless. If you suffer a debilitating injury or the loss of a loved one in a crash, you can seek compensation through a personal injury claim. This covers the tangible losses, like medical costs and missed earnings, and the non-economic damages, like pain and suffering and loss of enjoyment of life.

A victim impact statement is a powerful tool for sharing your story with insurers or the court. It expresses the impact of the collision on your life and helps persuade the deciding party to award you full damages.

Our auto accident attorneys at Cochran, Kroll, & Associates, P.C. can help you craft a victim impact statement after a car accident to share your story and get the compensation you deserve after someone’s negligent actions change your life.

What is a Victim Impact Statement?

A victim impact statement is a personal account of those affected by a car accident, detailing the event’s aftermath. It can be prepared by the victim or family members who have witnessed the incident’s effects on their loved one’s life. In a wrongful death suit, the victim’s family may share an impact statement regarding the financial and emotional impact of the loss.

This document captures the full scope of the victim’s challenges, including physical injuries, emotional turmoil, and financial strain. It’s often shared with insurance companies as part of a car accident claim but can also be read out loud in court or submitted to a judge in a personal injury case.

Why is a Victim Impact Statement Used in Personal Injury Cases?

A victim impact statement offers the judge a glimpse into the genuine human toll and distress caused by the defendant’s carelessness. It also makes your experience personal, offering the court a deeper look at how the accident has affected you beyond just the financial costs.

This statement is your chance to share the accident’s impact on your life, work, and relationships in vivid, personal terms. By highlighting the emotional and psychological journey of recovery from a serious accident, it aims to convince the judge or jury to provide fair compensation that covers these often overlooked damages.

Components of a Victim Impact Statement

While there is no strict formula, most victim statements contain a few core elements, including:

Element What to Include
Identifying Personal Information State your name, age, occupation, and relationship to the case upfront. This could be as the plaintiff or someone speaking on the plaintiff’s behalf, like a family member, partner, or close friend.
Description of the Incident Provide an overview of the incident, including the date, location, and description of the defendant’s negligent conduct (e.g., speeding or driving while intoxicated). 
Emotional, Physical, and Financial Impacts Describe the devastating impacts of the incident across all life areas, including: 

  • Agonizing physical pain and lifelong disabilities
  • Cost and time of doctor’s appointments or rehabilitation
  • Emotional trauma (PTSD, anxiety, depression)
  • Loss of enjoyment in hobbies/activities
  • Strains on personal relationships, family life, and future plans 
  • Financial hardships from medical bills and lost income 
  • Canceled vacations or plans 

Guidelines for Writing a Victim Impact Statement

Writing a victim impact statement can be an emotional experience. However, taking the time to craft your message carefully can make it more impactful. To ensure your victim impact statement carries weight and evokes empathy, consider these tips:

  • Use descriptive language. Aim for vivid descriptions that create a clear image of the incident and its effects on your life, emphasizing sensory and emotional experiences. For instance, instead of saying, “I was hurt,” opt for, “The accident has left me with debilitating pain that prevents me from walking for long periods.”
  • Be honest and authentic. Your car accident victim impact statement should genuinely convey your feelings and the incident’s effect, making it more powerful and relatable.
    For example, you could say, “The accident left me with not just physical scars, but it also shook my confidence. Now, just getting in a car to go to work or see my loved ones has become difficult.”
  • Focus on the future impact. Discuss the immediate aftermath and the incident’s long-term effects on your life. This could include ongoing medical treatments, adjustments in your daily living, or changes in your ability to work and engage in previously enjoyed activities.
    For instance, “The injuries from the accident mean I can no longer play piano, an activity that was not just a hobby but a part of my identity.”
  • Include specific examples of life changes. Explain how your life has changed in specific ways. Doing so adds a personal touch to your story and makes the effects of the incident feel more real to whoever is listening or reading.
    You might mention, “Before the accident, hiking every weekend was a tradition that brought me closer to my children. Now, due to my physical restrictions, that’s no longer possible, changing how we bond and interact as a family.”
  • Think about structure. An impactful statement will have a structure that builds a narrative and is easy to follow. Consider starting with the emotional impact, transitioning to physical injuries and disabilities, and finishing with the financial consequences for you and your family.
  • Seek feedback and revision. Ask someone else to look over your statement to sharpen its clarity, strengthen its impact, and ensure it flows well, highlighting any areas needing a touch-up. This could be your lawyer, who can provide insights on sharing your experiences and ensuring your statement fits legal guidelines.

What to Avoid When Writing Your Statement

While writing your victim impact statement, avoid certain pitfalls that could undermine its effectiveness and credibility. Some common statements to avoid include:

  • Blaming or expressing anger. Avoid directing blame or expressing anger toward the court, the defendant, or their legal representatives. Instead, focus on describing the impact of the accident on your daily life and the challenges you have faced as a result. Avoid “the defendant did…” statements and stick to “I feel” and “I believe.”
  • Exaggerating the details. Your statement should be honest and accurate, showing how you truly feel. Avoid exaggerating the impact on your life or making untrue declarations. If you can’t remember or feel emotionally numb, it’s okay to share that as part of your experience and the accident’s impact on your mental state.
  • Using inappropriate language. Maintain a respectful and professional tone throughout your statement, and follow your attorney’s advice on courtroom etiquette. Avoid using inappropriate or offensive language; these actions could weaken your testimony’s impact and damage your credibility.
  • Seeking retribution or revenge. Avoid pushing for revenge or punishment against the person at fault in your statement. Doing so can go against the fairness and justice the legal process aims to uphold. Instead, focus on getting compensated for your losses and ensuring the responsible parties are held accountable.
  • Revealing personal identifying information. For your privacy and safety, do not share personal details like your address, phone number, or social media accounts in your statement.

Victim Impact Statement Example Car Accident

Victim Impact Statement Example

To see how you might write a statement for a personal injury case, here’s an example of a victim impact statement from a car accident:

The victim introduces himself and states the nature of his lawsuit, offering a clear timeline and details about the accident and his injuries.

“Your Honor, my name is David Smith, and I am the plaintiff in this automobile negligence lawsuit. On October 15th, 2022, a distracted driver ran a red light at the intersection of Griswold and W. Congress Street in Detroit. They were traveling at high speed and T-boned my vehicle. I sustained multiple compound fractures requiring emergency surgery to stabilize the shattered bones in my leg and arm.

He outlines the physical recovery and ongoing medical needs, touching on the emotional and relational fallout as a direct result of his injuries.

Even after months of grueling physical therapy, I cannot put weight on my leg without crippling nerve pain. My doctor says I’ll likely need further surgeries and may face permanent disability, preventing me from returning to my construction job. The emotional trauma has strained my relationship with my wife and kids.

The victim highlights the financial impact, including medical expenses and the threat of losing his home. This illustrates the broader consequences of the accident on his and his family’s life.

My medical bills are over $350,000 and climbing with no end in sight. Since I can’t work, we risk losing our home to foreclosure. A lifetime of hopes, dreams, and security has been shattered through no fault of my own.

In closing, he appeals to the court for compensation. This position positions his request as a matter of justice and necessity, given the devastation caused by the defendant’s negligence.

I’m a hard-working American who played by the rules, and one reckless driver’s negligence has destroyed my life and my family’s future. Please award damages so I can pay my medical bills, future surgeries, and daily living expenses while unemployed.

Working With an Attorney

Collaborating with an attorney on your victim impact statement can improve its impact in court. At Cochran, Kroll, & Associates, P.C., we specialize in personal injury law and bring extensive experience to each case. Here’s how we can assist in refining your victim impact statement:

  • Guide on structure. We can explain how to organize your statement to ensure the key points stand out. This can include an easy-to-follow story that flows from before the accident to its aftermath on your life to show its full effect.
  • Explain judicial expectations. Our knowledge of the legal system helps tailor your statement to meet specific judicial standards. We can explain how to present your experiences in a way that resonates with a judge and jury while allowing you to fully express your pain and suffering.
  • Leverage unique expertise. Partner attorney Eileen Kroll, a registered nurse, brings her medical background to provide unique perspectives on detailing medical injuries and the recovery journey. Eileen and her team are skilled at crafting descriptions that are both medically accurate and easily understood by those without a medical background.
  • Refine language. We assist in choosing words that convey the gravity of your experience, advising on how to express complex emotions and facts clearly and compellingly. This can help you persuade the court on your behalf and receive maximum compensation.
  • Prepare for court presentation. Once your statement is prepared, we will guide you in delivering it to the courtroom. We can provide tips on presentation and coping strategies for managing emotions during this high-stress moment.

Seek Justice for Your Car Accident Case

If you or someone you love has had their life changed by a serious Michigan car accident, get the legal representation you need. Speak with our compassionate, knowledgeable Cochran, Kroll, & Associates, P.C. attorneys.

We can review your case, guide you through the claims process, and draft an impactful victim impact statement for your car accident case. Contact us today for a free, no-obligation consultation.

Our contingency fee basis means we only get paid if we win your case, so there is no financial risk to you to get started. Call our law firm today at 1-866-MICH-LAW and schedule your no-obligation, free case evaluation.

Disclaimer : The information provided is general and not for legal advice. The blogs are not intended to provide legal counsel and no attorney-client relationship is created nor intended.

Lynn Mayfield is a writer and has worked in finance and education. Lynn earned her Master's Degree in Education and now writes informative articles for various legal organizations. She enjoys drinking coffee and spending time outdoors.



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