You or someone you care about has just been in an accident. While gathering evidence may be the furthest thing from your mind, it is necessary in order for you to receive the compensation that the law says you deserve. The sooner you can start taking pictures, gathering documentation, and collecting witness testimony, the easier things will be, both now and in the future.
Types of Evidence in Personal Injury Cases
In a personal injury case, evidence is key to establishing who was at fault and the value of your case. You need to gather as much evidence as possible and preserve that evidence so that it can be used in your personal injury case. And there are several different types of evidence that can support your case, beginning with physical evidence.
Physical evidence is the type of evidence that you can see or touch and, depending on the type of personal injury case, can include clothing, weapons, tools, or malfunctioning components. This type of evidence provides very useful insight into what happened to you during an accident, such as the nature of the injuries or the extent of the damage.
Scene (or accident) evidence is typically left at the scene of the accident or becomes an actual part of the accident scene itself. Examples of scene evidence can include skid marks left on the road, a broken window, a defective part, or car accident debris. Photographs and video recordings are an excellent way of preserving this type of evidence.
Another powerful form of evidence in personal injury cases is witness testimony. Testimony may come from witnesses at the scene when the accident happened or family and friends who witnessed the aftermath of the damage and injuries sustained. Note that some testimony may be submitted on paper while other types of testimony may be recorded. You need to obtain eyewitness testimony as soon as possible, and if that is not possible then getting contact information for the witnesses so their testimony can be obtained at a more convenient time is the next best thing.
Photos and Video
There are many different sources of both photographic and video evidence in personal injury cases. This can include closed-circuit television (CCTV), street cameras, and dashcam footage as well as media obtained by cell phones. Such evidence can provide reliable insight into exactly what happened prior to and as a result of the accident, as well clearly reveal who was at fault.
Photos and videos should be obtained as soon as the accident happened, and follow-up photos can also be obtained at a later date. If you are not allowed to photograph or record, you should make a note of who forbade you and their reasons. Make sure to take pictures from various angles, and if you return after the accident try to obtain images around the same time of day that the accident occurred. Photos are also useful in documenting the extent of your injuries, including bruises, swelling, broken bones, and cuts.
Another key type of evidence used in personal injury cases is the documentation of injuries suffered as a result. This can include medical data and reports, insurance documentation, incident reports, and bills for medical care. You should also keep copies of all medical referrals, recommendations, psychological records, hospital records, and physical therapist reports.
However, that is not the only type of documentation that may be involved. There can also be copies of police reports, pay stubs showing lost wages, and receipts for repair bills. Police accident reports are especially useful for establishing who is liable in an accident because they present an unbiased account of the events that occurred and name the person that the police officer involved believes to be the responsible party in the incident.
How Evidence is Gathered for Personal Injury Cases
Photographic evidence (both digital and film-based) and physical evidence should be gathered immediately after the accident. Physical evidence that cannot be collected should be photographed. Requests can be submitted for access to video evidence from sources such as CCTV and street cameras. A personal injury lawyer can help you gather additional information, including eyewitness reports and medical records.
It is important that evidence is preserved and safely stored to prevent tampering, theft, or accidental damage. Evidence in electronic form (such as videos, digital photographs, and electronic copies of key documents) should always be backed up. It is also wise to scan in copies of any documentation related to the case, such as medical bills, police reports, and receipts. It is a good idea to obtain physical copies of all photographic evidence as well. Physical evidence should be photographed and preserved as it was when the accident occurred.
Evidence is key in personal injury cases, and collecting the right kind of evidence is an important first step to establishing your case. However, it is not enough to gather the evidence; you also need to make sure that evidence is kept safe and backed up where possible. And remember that a good personal injury attorney can help you with putting together the proof you need of who was liable in your accident and demonstrate the true worth of your claim.
Contact Donaghue & Labrum Today
At Donaghue & Labrum, we will fight to help you get the compensation that the law says you deserve. We are personal injury lawyers with 25 years of experience in aggressively representing our clients both in and out of the courtroom. Contact us today for a consultation and let us put the law to work for you!