A car accident can leave you dealing with severe physical injuries, emotional stress, and substantial financial losses. You should not have to pay the financial price for someone else’s negligence. Preserving evidence is essential when seeking compensation for a car accident.
Solid evidence can help determine who is liable for an accident and impact the amount of money you receive for damages. When you collect evidence to back up your claim, this can make the difference between having to pay for your medical bills, damaged property, and other expenses yourself or recovering maximum compensation for your losses.
Why Is It Important to Preserve Evidence Following a Car Accident?
Evidence establishes a clear record of events leading up to and during the car accident. It allows investigators to reconstruct accurate and detailed accounts of the collision, which is essential to determine liability and compensation.
Evidence from car accidents plays an important role in insurance proceedings. You need documented evidence to make sure that the insurance company meets its obligation to pay your claim. Insufficient evidence can result in a car accident claim being undervalued or denied.
A major car accident can leave you with severe injuries and substantial property damage. You may need to file a lawsuit to recover full compensation for your losses. The success of your case in court will largely depend on whether or not you have solid evidence to back your claim.
Additionally, law enforcement should be notified in the event of most car accidents. Depending on the nature of the accident and the outcome, failure to do so may mean that criminal charges are filed. Sound evidence could be your strongest defense.
What You Need to Prove in a Car Accident Case
In order to receive full compensation for your car accident case, you need evidence to prove:
- The other party was liable: You can prove the other party was responsible by providing evidence of negligence. You must show that the other driver failed to exercise proper care while driving (by speeding, failing to yield, driving while distracted, etc.) and that the accident would not have occurred if not for the other driver’s actions.
- The nature and extent of your injuries: The amount of compensation you recover will depend on the type of injuries you suffered and their severity. For example, it is not enough to simply say you hurt your back in an auto accident and you can’t return to work. You must provide specific medical evidence of your injuries.
- The damages you sustained: In order to be fully compensated, you must put a value on the losses you sustained in the crash. Car accident damages commonly include compensation for medical bills, lost earnings, property damage, and pain and suffering.
Photos of the Accident Scene
If you are able to move around safely without causing any further injury to yourself or others, take photos of the accident scene.
Be sure to photograph:
- Positions of the vehicles
- Skid marks
- Road conditions
- Debris from the vehicles
- Traffic signs
- Weather conditions
Try to document as many details as you can from as many angles as possible. This will help provide a complete visual account of the accident.
Videos that capture the car accident and the moments leading up to it can provide invaluable evidence and be a crucial component in supporting your version of events.
If your vehicle or another vehicle involved has a dashcam, the footage can be reviewed to see how the accident unfolded.
Footage captured from nearby surveillance or traffic cameras can also reveal important details about the accident and provide a clear view of each driver’s actions.
Cell Phone Records
Your lawyer may subpoena the other party’s cell phone records if your lawyer feels these could provide relevant information to substantiate your claim.
Suppose the other driver is denying being involved in the accident. Phone records can pinpoint the individual’s location at the time of the accident.
Additionally, in cases where distracted driving is suspected, cell phone records can show whether a driver was using his or her phone at the time of the collision.
It’s safest to call 911 and report the accident regardless of the extent of property damage or injuries. A law enforcement officer will arrive on the scene and complete a police report.
An official police report after a car accident may include:
- A description of the accident
- An officer’s assessment of the accident
- The names of all drivers, passengers, and witnesses involved
- An initial determination of fault
The police report may showcase any inconsistencies in the other driver’s version of events, give your case more credibility, and offer more insight into the cause of the accident.
It is important to seek immediate medical attention after being injured in a car accident.
According to the National Safety Council (NSC), the average cost of medical expenses from evident motor vehicle accident injuries is $40,000. To secure compensation, you will need to prove that your injuries are a direct result of the crash.
Be sure to document the nature and extent of your injuries. Note the time and date of your doctor’s visits and any medical treatments or medications prescribed. You will also want to keep track of any medical bills you receive and note whether you have to pay anything out-of-pocket.
Prognosis reports, treatment notes, and other medical records can provide evidence of the severity of your injuries and necessary treatment going forward. This information can also be used when pursuing compensation for future medical expenses.
Vehicle Damage Reports
An assessment of the damage done to your vehicle can indicate the severity of the crash. The location and extent of the damage can be examined to help show how the accident transpired.
The cost to repair or replace your vehicle should be included in your car accident claim. Keep a record of all property damage-related expenses, including repairs, car rental fees, and rideshare fees.
Witness statements can serve as powerful, unbiased support of your car accident claim. A passerby who watched the accident unfold may be able to provide a different perspective as to how the car accident occurred.
If there were any eyewitnesses to your car accident, you should ask for their contact information. Since a witness’s memory of the incident will likely fade with time, try to get a written or recorded statement as soon as possible.
Your car accident attorney may schedule a deposition, which is a formal interview and recording of the witness’ testimony. Depositions can be used in court if you end up needing to file a lawsuit to recover compensation.
Expert Witness Testimony
A personal injury attorney may consult expert witnesses while building a strong car accident case on your behalf. An expert witness can provide in-depth information and analysis based on his or her experience in a particular field.
Expert witnesses consulted in car accident cases commonly include:
- Accident reconstructionists
- Medical experts
- Mental health experts
- Vocational experts
While it can be costly to hire expert witnesses, their testimony can help you win your case and maximize its value.
If the officers who responded to the accident scene had reason to believe one of the drivers involved was under the influence, they may have conducted a breathalyzer test or sent the driver to a medical facility for a toxicology screening.
Your experienced car accident attorney can request a copy of these reports and use them to show that the at-fault driver was under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Vehicle Recall Reports
Your attorney may explore the possibility of a recall on a vehicle or car part being involved in the accident.
Manufacturers have a duty to ensure the safety of all vehicles, parts, and accessories they put on the market. If a vehicle or parts manufacturer is responsible for a malfunction or defect that contributed to the crash, they may be held liable.
Event Data Recorders (EDR)
Nowadays, many vehicles are equipped with black boxes or event data recorders (EDRs). These devices record driving and vehicle data from immediately before, during, and after a motor vehicle accident. This data can assist in crash investigations and be used as evidence in court cases. Trucks, in general, are equipped with such devices, thus, collecting relevant evidence about a truck accident that took place may be easier.
Information retrieved from an EDR can include:
- Brake application
- Throttle position
- Seatbelt usage
- Airbag deployment and more
If your legal team feels that the information recorded in the black box will help establish liability and prove fault, they will take the steps necessary to secure it.
Our Personal Injury Lawyers Can Build a Strong Car Accident Case for You
Being involved in a car accident can be a stressful and overwhelming experience. Having an experienced car accident lawyer on your side will make it easier to recover the evidence needed to build a strong case that proves fault and liability. With the help of our dedicated personal injury lawyers, you can confidently pursue the maximum compensation you deserve.
At Hoffspiegel Law, we have years of experience successfully handling car accident cases. We are skilled at identifying and gathering compelling evidence to strengthen your personal injury claim. Our legal team has access to experts and other resources available to build a solid case for you.
We take all personal injury cases on a contingency fee basis. Schedule a free case evaluation today. Contact our law firm at (404) 760-8600 or click the Contact Us button to get started.