How to Collect Evidence for Your Personal Injury Case
If you or a loved one was hurt in a wreck, accident, slip & fall, or at work, you need tangible evidence to pursue a claim. There are various types of evidence that will convince the jury to compensate you for your injuries. Sometimes the evidence is direct; while in other situations, it is circumstantial.
Physical evidence includes all the items and objects involved in the incident, such as wrecked vehicles, damaged parts, the shoes you were wearing when you tripped. Other types of physical evidence include clothes, scars, tools, and dangerous equipment the at-fault person was using when you were hurt.
Photographs and Videos
Always, always, always take pictures and videos immediately after the incident, before the at-fault person, their company, or someone else alters the scene. Take photos of the positions of the all vehicles after impact and damages caused to your car and personal property. Take pictures of the scene and people.
If you were at work or at a business or on someone's property, take pictures of the location and condition. You might take photographs of slippery floors, the floor mat, stairs, lack of lighting, any inadequate safeguards, and crumbling infrastructure—because the company or property owner might make changes soon after the accident and you need to preserve evidence of what it looked like at the time you were hurt.
If anyone was there or near when your injury occurred, it is critical you record all bystanders, coworkers, or customers as witnesses. Eyewitnesses can help provide critical details about what happened and may notice details you missed. Some may have pictures and video clips oft the incident. Record eyewitness statements that can support your claim. Jurors like hearing from eyewitnesses. They often believe them above you or the defendants. Jurors often say that's because they feel the eyewitness "doesn't have a dog in the fight"—they're just saying what they saw.
You should also request the witnesses to give you their contacts so that you can call on them in the future. Get their names, address, cell phone (most important!), and email address.
Police reports are a valuable source of evidence for traffic accidents. It is law that the police officer or trooper who investigates a crash file a report detailing who was involved, what happened, and concluding fault. You can request the law enforcement agency to give you a copy of the report or your attorney will get it for you. You can also request law enforcement agencies provide footage from body-cam, dash-cams, street cameras, 911 calls, and surveillance equipment.
You should collect all the relevant records of all the healthcare you get as a result of your injuries. The records include fees, examinations, x-rays/MRIs/CAT scan, lab reports, surgical reports, diagnosis and treatment, prescriptions, therapy, and psychiatric records of the emotional and mental effects of the accident. To use them in court, the medical provider will have to provide affidavits to prove the records are authentic and true.
Make sure you keep all the receipts to assess the total cost of medical care, including prescriptions, over-the-counter medicines, and co-pays. Request your physician to provide records of your medical history for use as proof your injuries were not an existing medical condition, or if you already had a similar injury that the wreck made it worse (aggravated your prior condition). You can also call on medical professionals to provide expert opinion.
Evidence of Loss of Income/Inability to Work
If the injury caused disability or caused your to miss time from work, collect evidence to claim loss of income or damage to your ability to earn. Some of the evidence you can use include a letter from your employer indicating the length of time you were absent and proof of low productivity, tax returns, W2's, and 1099's.
Preserve the Evidence
After gathering the evidence, preserve it in hard and soft copies so that you can always retrieve it when needed. Be sure to back up videos and pictures from your smartphone on a flash disk or personal computer. Make sure it is tamper-proof.
Hire a Lawyer to Help
After gathering and securing the evidence, you need to enlist the services of a qualified and experienced lawyer to help you prepare a strong case. Rachel Ambler is an award-winning personal injury attorney who has injured people get the compensation they deserve. She has experience assisting people collect damages from insurance companies, negligent employers, and large corporations.
Rachel Ambler is a dedicated and experienced West Texas car accident and trucking accident lawyer. She lives here and fights here. When you've been hurt in a car accident or trucking accident, that's exactly what you want. Call AmblerLaw today, 432.203.0303.