Every car accident claim is unique, but strong evidence is always the key to winning a settlement or verdict. Unfortunately, much of the evidence needed to support your claim may be time-sensitive, and it’s not uncommon for certain evidence to be withheld—especially if the liable party is in possession of such evidence.
To give your case the best possible chance of success, it’s important that you gather evidence while at the scene if you are able to do so. You should also contact a well-credentialed car accident lawyer right away so an investigation can be conducted while essential evidence is still available.
Read on to learn about the kinds of evidence to gather after being involved in a collision:
Photographs and Video Footage: Use your cellphone to take pictures and videos of property damage, injuries, the weather and road conditions, license plates, insurance cards, driver’s licenses, the positions of vehicles, deployed airbags, skid marks, and debris on the road. To provide a sense of scale, place an object such as a penny next to the items you are photographing. These photos may be used by your attorney and an accident reconstruction expert to discern what happened in the moments leading up to the crash. Depending on the circumstances, photos and video footage may be essential for overcoming a liability dispute or proving that the crash was the proximate cause of your injuries.
Insurance and Contact Information of Other Drivers: You will need the at-fault driver’s insurance information to file your claim. Take a picture of his or her insurance card and driver’s license, and write down his or her phone number, full name, email address, and physical address.
Contact Details of Eyewitnesses: Your attorney and the insurance company might reach out to eyewitnesses to get a statement. If your version of events differs from that of the other driver, eyewitness deposition may be used to support your claim.
Medical Records: Immediately after leaving the scene, you should go directly to a hospital or clinic to get an official diagnosis. Putting off the medical evaluation is one of the biggest mistakes you can make if you intend to file a claim. It may cause the insurance company to argue that your negligent decision to forego medical care allowed your condition to progress, resulting in a more severe prognosis or delaying your recovery. The insurance adjuster may even say that your injuries are less serious than you’re claiming since prompt medical treatment was unnecessary, or that your injuries were caused by something else.
Financial Documents: You won’t be able to recover compensation for lost income or lost earning capacity unless you can present evidence to prove the value of such damages. Your attorney can help you compile this evidence, so it is wise to contact a lawyer right away even if you haven’t had an opportunity to gather tax documents, paystubs, and other financial documents.
Other Evidence: There are all sorts of evidence your car accident lawyer might use to strengthen your case. For instance, if you were hit by a commercial truck, that vehicle’s electronic data recorder might play a crucial role in proving negligence and liability. If your crash was caused by a defective auto part, it may be necessary to gather blueprints, schematics, and recall data to prove the likely source of the defect.
Your Car Accident Lawyer Can Help You Gather Evidence
While the above evidence can be gathered at the scene or shortly thereafter, there are some kinds of evidence that may be difficult to access. A well-credentialed car accident lawyer will know the types of evidence needed to strengthen your claim and can apply legal pressure to compile such evidence if necessary.
If you’re not sure how to get a copy of the police report, for example, your attorney can obtain a copy on your behalf. Below are a few other kinds of evidence your lawyer can gather while you focus on recovering from your injuries:
Evidence That’s Being Withheld: If the at-fault driver had a dashcam that recorded the collision, he or she might be reluctant to hand over its footage voluntarily. Your attorney can file a subpoena to obtain those recordings as well as any other evidence that’s being withheld, such as surveillance footage from nearby businesses, black box data, or cellphone records.
Evidence Specific to Your Case: One of the most important reasons to enlist the help of a skilled car accident attorney is to ensure you don’t overlook essential evidence. Even if you took photos at the scene and gathered insurance and contact information, there might be evidence that is specific to your case. As previously mentioned, this may include the other vehicle’s black box data or evidence of an auto part defect. A seasoned personal injury lawyer can determine the kinds of evidence that will be needed to strengthen your case and can take the necessary steps to compile it.
Expert Witness Deposition: It’s not uncommon for expert witnesses to play a pivotal role in auto accident cases. Even if you and the defendant agree on what caused the crash, you might still face a dispute regarding the kinds of damages incurred or their value. Your attorney can arrange for the deposition of medical, financial, and accident reconstruction experts. Your lawyer might even depose caregivers and loved ones to prove the severity of your injuries and how they are affecting your day-to-day wellbeing.
Discuss Your Claim With a Car Accident Lawyer in Long Beach
Your Injuries Are Personal to Me
At the Law Office of Michael D. Waks, we have many years of experience helping auto accident victims navigate the claims process. We can take over all correspondence with the insurance company, perform a thorough investigation, approximate a fair settlement figure, and aggressively fight for the highest compensation possible. For a free consultation, dial (562) 206-1939 or send us a message online.
Download Our Free Car Accident Emergency .PDF
In the aftermath of a serious crash, the shock and adrenaline can make it impossible to think clearly. Forgetting to compile just one piece of critical evidence could be all it takes to jeopardize your subsequent claim. Our Car Accident Emergency .PDF outlines the steps you should take after a collision to protect your legal rights. Download it for free HERE, and keep it in your glovebox so you’re always prepared.
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