One of the most crucial components of any personal injury lawsuit is the plaintiff’s evidence. It’s crucial for any plaintiff in a personal injury lawsuit to have sufficient evidence to not only prove the extent of his or her claimed damages, but also enough to show that those damages were the direct results of a defendant’s negligence. After sustaining injuries in an accident that occurred due to another party’s negligence, the injured party should consult with a personal injury attorney and start building a case. Once you start compiling the evidence you need for your claim, your attorney will help you preserve this evidence.
Preserving Evidence From the Scene of an Accident
For a case involving a car accident or other incident in which the crime scene will not remain intact for long, photographic evidence is crucial. Take photos after any type of accident if you are able. After a car accident, try to take photos of your injuries and the damage to your vehicle. You should also try to take pictures of the surrounding area, including skid marks on the road, debris, and any landmarks or street signs nearby. These photos will help a claims adjuster or jury form a more accurate picture of how the accident happened to hopefully ensure liability falls to the at-fault party.
It’s also important to take photos of your injuries as soon as possible after an accident as long as you are able to do so safely. These pictures will help a jury or adjuster recognize the immediate effects of a defendant’s negligence. Over time, wounds can heal faster than you might expect and a jury reviewing your case several months after your accident occurred may not take your claim seriously if you don’t “look” injured enough at trial. Photos of your injuries immediately after your accident, as well as progression photos that show your injuries during the stages of recovery, will help the jury or adjuster appreciate your position.
Police Reports and Other Documentation
If your accident involved the police at all, there should be a report. Contact the police department that handled the situation to request a copy of this report, and have your lawyer advise you as to the different types of documentation you should secure. This may include invoices for medical treatment, repair bills, income statements, and other documents that show the extent of your financial losses after an accident.
In some lawsuits, the defendant or other parties will have documentation or other physical evidence that you must acquire to build your case. For example, in a car accident lawsuit, your attorney may subpoena traffic camera footage from the accident scene if it is available. If your accident occurred near a private business that had security cameras covering the area, your attorney might be able to subpoena this footage as well.
If anyone witnessed your accident, you will need to identify and contact these individuals for their statements. For example, a pedestrian witnesses a car accident in which the other driver was clearly at fault. The injured driver should get the pedestrian’s personal information including name, address, and phone number. If the police respond to the incident, they will likely take statements from any witnesses who saw what happened. Your attorney can collect copies of witness statements and help keep track of witnesses during your case in the event you need them to appear in a trial.
Your attorney should help you to start compiling evidence as soon as you secure representation. It’s important to start this process as quickly as possible to meet your area’s statute of limitations or time limit for filing personal injury claims. In most states, this statute is two years from the date of injury, but other states have longer statutes and may have absolute time limits for certain types of claims. Listen to your attorney’s advice and preserve evidence as instructed for the best chances of succeeding with your personal injury lawsuit.