Preserving Evidence in Personal Injury Accidents
Personal injury cases rely heavily on evidence. If the plaintiff is unable to present substantial evidence to prove that the defendant bears the majority of the fault for the injury, it is unlikely that the plaintiff will be rewarded any damages. Evidence is crucial—and in collecting evidence in a personal injury case, time is of the essence.
As soon as you are able to return to the scene of the accident, you should collect any physical evidence that may remain as well as take photographs of the area. You do not need to take professional photographs, however you should keep a few things in mind as you capture images of the scene. First, ensure that you are using a normal camera and not a Polaroid. Also be sure that you capture different angles of the scene or evidence. It is also a good idea to have a friend accompany you to take photos and to document the date on which he or she observed you taking the photographs.
Speak to Witnesses
If your personal injury case involved an accident—particularly a traffic accident—having witness statements can be invaluable to your case. A witness who saw the accident will be able to describe it as it happened and, hopefully, corroborate your version of events. A witness may also have evidence that you were not privy to that indicates that the other party was at fault. The witness may have had opportunity to observe the other party’s conduct or could have even overhead a conversation that would indicate that the other party is at fault. If there is a witness to your accident, it is essential that you contact them as soon as possible to insure that you are able to capture their statement as accurately as possible. As time passes, it is possible that the witness will not remember the details of the event as clearly as he or she did immediately following your accident.
Collect and Document
Because damages, or a financial award, are at stake in a personal injury case, the importance of documentation cannot be overstated. Collect and document everything that you possibly can regarding the accident itself—photos, witness statements and police reports—but don’t stop there. Keep track of your expenses as they relate to your injury, including all medical bills, insurance deductible payments, and any lost wages you may incur. If you have to hire help to maintain your home, keep a record of those payments as well. And, of course, insure that you have a physical copy of all of your medical records relating to your treatment.