Were you in an accident caused by another person’s negligence? You may be eligible for an injury lawsuit.
All successful personal injury lawsuits rely on quality evidence. Evidence helps prove that an accident occurred and the at-fault party’s negligence resulted in your injuries.
It is essential for the injured party to gather evidence and preserve it as soon as possible after an accident or incident. Without quality personal injury evidence, the likelihood of receiving an adequate settlement or payout falls drastically.
Personal Injury Evidence
Gathering evidence is crucial – but what is evidence in a personal injury claim?
Different personal injury cases produce different types of evidence, but many cases contain similar evidence that is key in proving negligence and backing claims for compensation you deserve.
Personal injury evidence can include:
- Medical records, medical bills, and any other information relating to emotional or physical injuries
- A police report or accident report from responding authorities
- Photo or video evidence of the accident scene
- Witness statements
- Documents relating to lost wages
- Physical evidence
You MUST preserve evidence immediately after an accident. Preserving evidence and keeping it organized will help you and your personal injury lawyer build a strong case.
Documents relating to your injuries, treatment, recovery, and the financial costs associated are essential pieces of evidence. Always be sure to ask for copies of documents outlining your medical expenses after treatment as they can be used to back your compensation claims.
Police Reports and Accident Reports
Reports and documents from responding authorities can be extremely helpful in chronicling and understanding events that led to a personal injury.
After a car accident, for example, a responding police officer will typically give the people involved a receipt that has an identification number to find the police report. Otherwise, you can contact the responding authorities and request a copy of the report.
Photos and Videos
It is incredibly important to take or obtain photos and videos of the accident, where it occurred, property damage and resulting injuries. Photos and videos can come from personal devices such as phones or dash-cams, traffic camera or security camera footage, witnesses, doctors, etc.
Witness Statements and Expert Witnesses
Your attorney may use statements from witnesses on the scene of an accident or incident to validate your case further, giving their account of what they saw. Lawyers may also use expert witnesses, who specialize in certain areas related to your claim, to give credence to subjects such as medical diagnoses, financial documents, and more.
Financial Documents related to Lost Wages
Personal injury cases don’t just affect a person’s health. They also affect their income and earning ability. Bank statements, earnings statements, pay stubs, and more can prove lost income and bolster your compensation claim.
Physical evidence of a personal injury includes anything tangible related to your accident. For example: if you were in a car accident, real evidence could include damaged property, torn or bloodied clothing worn during the accident, and any other physical objects involved or damaged in the accident.
The Four Types of Evidence in a Personal Injury Claims
Successful personal injury cases use a multitude of evidence types.
These are the four types of evidence:
- Real Evidence: physical evidence that consists of tangible things or objects involved in the incident.
- Demonstrative Evidence: recreations of an incident, used to demonstrate what occurred in the situation.
- Documentary Evidence: any document, photo, video, or record that can be used as evidence.
- Testimonial Evidence: evidence that involves testimonies from witnesses, expert witnesses, and others.
Real or Physical Evidence
Physical evidence can be overwhelmingly convincing in a court of law. As mentioned above, physical evidence can include anything tangible related to your personal injury. Always preserve this sort of evidence to the best of your ability: seal clothing in plastic bags, organize objects in safe places, and don’t tamper with anything.
Recreations of incidents or data-driven models can be used in a court of law to demonstrate the severity of events that took place. Demonstrative evidence could include charts, graphs, 3D renderings, and more.
Documentary evidence refers to all written, printed, recorded, photo, and video evidence of an incident. Documentary evidence can include medical records, medical expenses, police reports, communications with an insurance company, photos or videos of the scene of the accident, traffic light camera footage, and more. Photo or video evidence that shows particularly your view of the incident is extr
Testimonial evidence refers to written and spoken testimony from third party witnesses. Witness statements from the accident scene, testimony from expert witnesses to prove certain aspects of your case, and others are important. Witnesses can provide an objective opinion on the incident and prove negligence of the other party.
Gathering Evidence after an Accident
The moments after an accident occurred are often confusing and overwhelming, and it can be difficult to accurately gather evidence and complete all recommended steps to aid in building a personal injury claim.
As mentioned before, quality evidence is the foundation for a successful personal injury case and should be collected as soon as possible.
Victims should try to the best of their ability to gather and preserve evidence, taking the following steps if possible:
- Call 911 and/or file a police report. Police reports or other documents from a law enforcement agency provide a written and logged account of an incident and can be referred back to by your legal representation. After an accident, contact the police department to get a copy of the police report.
- Take photos and videos of the accident scene and your injuries. Document the scene and your injuries in different angles as soon as possible. Try to document your injuries on the same day the accident happened and track the progression of injuries throughout time.
- Obtain medical records and bills. Medical records help accurately represent the severity of your injuries and allow your personal injury attorney to better calculate your damages. Sensitive or confidential information related to your injuries should be kept between you and your personal injury lawyer.
- Contact an attorney to file a personal injury lawsuit. A personal injury case aims to compensate victims for their injuries, and an attorney with a comprehensive knowledge of legal action can advocate for higher compensation amounts.
It may be necessary after an accident to go back to the scene to search for further evidence, witnesses, security cameras, and more that will help you build your case further.
Preserving Evidence in a Personal Injury Claim
You must keep all evidence organized and safe after an accident. Even if you have a strong claim for compensation after an injury, your case will be at risk if you fail to preserve evidence.
Some tips on preserving evidence include:
- Seal any physical evidence in plastic bags or containers with labels indicating dates and contents.
- Create back-up copies of photos and videos, storing them on multiple digital drives or printing out high-quality copies.
- Create back-up copies of all documents and store them in organized files.
Why Should I Hire a Personal Injury Lawyer?
If you’ve been in an accident and suffered injuries due to the negligence of another party, you may be eligible to file a personal injury claim.
A law firm that understands the attorney client relationship will provide legal support and help you get the compensation you deserve while you focus on recovering from your injuries.
How much does a lawyer cost?
Many lawyers who focus on the attorney client relationship will offer a free evaluation and case consultation to discuss personal injury cases.
Personal injury attorneys may structure their payment methods differently depending on the case type. Oftentimes, law firms will work on a contingency fee basis. This means they do not charge for legal services unless compensation is won for the client.
What will a lawyer do for my personal injury claim?
There are many benefits to hiring a lawyer. Lawyers provide a confidential relationship, top-notch advice for your legal issues, and peace of mind for clients while they fight your case.
A personal injury lawyer will help guide you through the civil lawsuit process, doing the following:
- Look over your case and file a personal injury claim
- Build your case with evidence you provide and they seek out
- Manage your lawsuit, dealing with the other party’s legal defense team, insurance companies, the courts, and more.
- Secure monetary compensation for your injuries.