Evidence 101: Why It’s Essential to Your Injury Claim
- Evidence is anything that helps you support your argument, whether physical, digital, or testimonial.
- It helps explain the causes and impacts of a crash, making your case stronger and more valuable.
- Many accident victims underestimate the value of evidence in their case.
- Victims can play an active role in preserving evidence.
- A personal injury lawyer may be able to help victims recover evidence essential to their case.
After a crash that wasn’t your fault, the facts surrounding your car accident may feel plain as day. In your mind, the other driver was clearly in the wrong, and you don’t need to do anything prove it. Unfortunately, many victims don’t realize how important and necessary evidence is in their case, even when it’s clear they were the victims of negligence. Without strong evidence, the insurance company will probably deny or devalue your claim.
In this blog, the Andy Citrin Injury Attorneys team outlines everything you need to know about evidence and its role in your injury claim.
What Is Evidence and Why Does It Matter?
Evidence is anything that acts as proof and supports your claim. Without evidence, there’s no way for an insurance company, judge, or jury to understand who is at fault or how badly you are hurt. Common examples of evidence include:
- Physical debris from the crash
- Witnesses’ statements
- Medical records from hospitals, doctors, and other providers
- Video footage of the crash
- Accident and police reports
- Photographs of the crash scene and your injuries
- Reports from expert witnesses
- “Independent medical examinations”
- Data from a car or truck’s “black box” or telematics
- Cell phone records
Without evidence, the case becomes a he-said, she-said verbal argument.
For example, suppose you’re in a car crash. At the scene, you tell the police officer that you weren’t injured. However, after the adrenaline wears off, you start to notice some low back pain. Within a few days, you’re experiencing shooting pain down your leg. But you decide not to go to the doctor. If you file a lawsuit, alleging that the wreck caused your back injury, you won’t have any objective data, like an MRI report, to support your claim or explain your losses. The insurance company will probably argue that if you were “really hurt,” you’d have sought treatment. In this case, you’ll face an uphill battle — especially if the insurer sends you to a one-time examination with one of their company doctors.
Now, suppose you go to the ER as soon as your back started to bother you. You tell the doctors about your crash and your symptoms. They schedule a CT scan, which identifies a herniated disc. You undergo surgery and an intense round of physical therapy. At every appointment, your medical providers document your physical condition, limitations, and make suggestions about your treatment plan and ability to work. Now, you’re armed with a lot of information about your injuries and how they impact your life. You’re in a much better position when it comes to your injury claims, since you have evidence supporting your claims.
How Do I Collect Evidence?
We encourage you to play an active role in preserving the evidence in your case. Unfortunately, your car accident lawyer can’t be with you at the scene of the crash to help you gather evidence. If you are physically able, you can start building your case against the at-fault driver. What many don’t realize that this can be quite simple to do.
For example, you should:
- Call 911 and get a police report.
- Take photos of the crash scene, including the vehicles, debris, skid marks, and your injuries
- Get the contact information of any witnesses.
- Write down the name, contact information, and insurance information of the other driver or drivers involved in the crash.
- Go to the doctor if you’re experiencing any discomfort.
How Do I Preserve Evidence?
Not all evidence involves photographs and debris fields. Some of the most powerful evidence in your injury claim may include harder-to-get evidence like trucking company and cell phone records. For example,
- Trucking company logs may identify violations of federal safety laws, but can be destroyed unless you protect them.
- Cell phone records may document a distracted driver’s online activities.
- Telematic systems or black boxes sometimes record a vehicle’s speed, time of braking, or other essential crash data.
- Engineers can determine whether a defective car or truck part caused your crash
However, if you don’t act quickly, this information may be lost or destroyed. What many people don’t know is that it’s sometimes legal to destroy objects if you don’t know they’re needed as evidence.
While collecting this evidence typically requires a lawyer, you can still help. Don’t wash your bloody clothes, repair your damaged vehicles, or throw away your cracked bicycle helmet until you consult with an attorney. If you must repair your car, for example, take as many photos of the damage as you can and save the receipts and estimates from the repair shop.
Need Help Preserving Evidence After a Crash? Andy Citrin Injury Attorneys Can Help
Don’t let valuable pieces of evidence slip through the cracks. Call Andy Citrin Injury Attorneys today and request a free consultation with one of our attorneys. In a free, confidential consultation, we can help you understand your options, including what kind of evidence will be most valuable in your case. To schedule your consultation today, call our office at 251-888-8888 or fill out this brief, online contact form.
We look forward to hearing from you.
The content provided here is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject.