What Evidence is Used in a Car Accident?

May 25, 2018

Being the victim of a serious car accident can be a traumatic experience for all those involved, and making sure that relevant evidence is properly preserved is likely the last thing in the mind of an accident victim. But, as stated by DMV.org, ‘Proving who’s at fault for a car accident is crucial; after all, the at-fault party’s car insurance company generally is responsible for paying damages to the injured party.”

Evidence serves as the foundation for any personal injury claim. It can include video or pictures from the scene of the accident, testimony from witnesses, or documentation that helps tell the story of your accident. In some cases, expert witnesses like doctors can be retained to testify about your injuries and the legitimacy of your injury claim. In addition, other documentation like insurance policies, pay stubs, and tax returns may be relevant to the case as well.

Without sufficient evidence, an insurance claim or lawsuit can fail, leaving victims unable to get fair compensation for injuries they have suffered and for damages to their vehicle. Retaining an experienced personal injury attorney who can help you pursue your claim will help you ensure evidence pertinent to your case is properly preserved to give you the best chance of getting any compensation you deserve.

Procedures for Collecting Evidence in a Car Accident

If you have retained an attorney to help you with your case, the attorney will often conduct an investigation to gather more information about the circumstances of your accident. Sometimes, this will involve the engagement of a private investigator, but other times the attorney will conduct interviews and find information on their own. This initial investigation should include gathering copies of relevant medical records to help evaluate the extent of injuries, as well as copies of the police report from the accident.

The end goal of this investigation is to gather enough evidence to accurately and convincingly show how the accident happened, who was at fault, and how the victims have been affected by the accident. It is common for this investigation to gather enough evidence so that your lawyer can settle your claim without needing to file a lawsuit. However, if the other parties involved in the accident, or the insurance company for the person who caused the accident, refuse to settle your claim, legal action may be required to get you the compensation you deserve. Part of the lawsuit process is a period of court-compelled evidence gathering called discovery. Since parties are required to respond to requests for information during this period or face sanctions, discovery is an excellent evidence gathering tool.

Apart from the processes employed by your attorney, one of the easiest ways to document evidence of a car accident is to take pictures of the scene of the accident right after it occurs. Using your cell phone to take photographs of damage to vehicles, and any injuries victims have suffered, will be extremely helpful to your attorney.

Understanding the Burden of Proof in a Car Accident

As the victim in a car accident, the law places the burden on you, the plaintiff, to prove that the defendant was acting negligently at the time of the accident. This means that in order to receive compensation for injuries and damages, you and your attorney will need to prove the other driver caused the accident by acting negligently, and maybe even in violation of the law.

An experienced personal injury attorney will better understand the legal standard that must be met, and can help explain how the facts of your case are relevant to determining negligence. However, they can only work with the evidence they have regarding your case, so the more information that can be gathered soon after the motor vehicle accident, the better they can assist you in winning your case.




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