Gathering evidence can strengthen your injury claim and help your attorney while negotiating with the insurance company or presenting your case before a jury. Evidence may be physical — such as photographs of physical damage and injuries — or non-physical, which includes testimony and police reports that give the jury or insurance company facts in your case. Here are some of the best forms of evidence you can help gather to help your attorney pursue your claim.
Photographs of the Scene
Photos are perhaps the strongest piece of evidence in your claim and they can be used to document physical evidence of the accident. It’s important to take as many photos as you can as soon as possible after the accident and capture images from different angles. Taking photos soon after the accident can help your attorney accurately depict the condition of evidence after the accident and any factors that may have contributed, such as weather or road conditions.
Remember that you have the right to take photos in public places. If the accident occurred in a closed area like a store, ask security or a manager if you can return to take photos. If they do not allow you to return for pictures, make a note of when you were denied and who denied your request. You can also inform the owner’s insurance adjuster so they can demand permission for you to take photos.
If you were involve in a car accident, be sure you take pictures of road and weather conditions, any traffic signs or lights in the immediate area, pictures of damage to involved vehicles, and images that show the position of the vehicles.
Evidence of Your Injuries
Your injury claim is based on liability — or who caused the accident — as well as your damages. Photos of your injuries are important because they establish the extent of your damages. These photos can also help connect the accident to your injuries and show the amount of pain and suffering you have dealt with during the recovery process.
Take pictures of your injuries as soon as possible and make sure you take pictures as you heal.
The police report is invaluable evidence as the police officer may state who he or she believes was negligent in the accident. The police report may even state whether the other party was cited or arrested after the accident. At the very least, the police report will include relevant information like contact information for all parties involved, when the accident occurred, weather conditions, whether there were reported injuries at the scene, and a diagram of the scene.
After the accident, gather contact information from any witnesses who saw what happened. Follow up to get witness statements that can be used as evidence to show the other party was at fault.
Your attorney will explain the difference between normal witness testimony in your case and expert testimony, which may be necessary to give an expert opinion as to what happened.
Medical records are important as they document the extent of your injuries and that your injuries are the result of your accident. Make sure you seek medical attention without delay, as a delay in treatment will be used by the insurance company or defense to argue that your injuries were not related to the accident or were not as serious as you claim.
Keep a journal documenting how your injuries affect you. Not only can this help you keep details of your case that could be forgotten otherwise, it paints a picture and shows just how much the accident affected your daily life. Keep track of how you feel every day, how treatments affect you, when you miss work, when you go to a doctor’s appointment, and difficulties you face performing daily tasks.
Other Documents to Gather
There are other forms of evidence you can gather to help your attorney build your case:
- Proof of missed work as lost wages will be part of your damages
- Personal notes. Give your attorney any personal notes you made about the accident. It’s important to write down what you remember as soon as possible as details may be lost if you wait.
- Medical bills. Keep your medical bills as you are entitled to compensation for the cost of medical treatment, hospital stays, prescription medication, medical devices, and more.