A successful car accident claim is based on the credibility of the evidence presented. It is this evidence that substantiates the plaintiff’s burden of proof. The more documentation the plaintiff has to prove that the defendant’s negligence the more likely he is to obtain a favorable settlement. To gather sufficient evidence, the plaintiff’s lawyer needs to send investigators to talk to witnesses, study the scene of the accident thoroughly and review police reports. If the plaintiff is injured, a qualified attorney will also work with the doctor and independent physician to obtain adequate evidence and document the medical treatments. The discussion highlights five forms of evidence that can help a victim get sufficient car accident compensation:
Evidence at The Scene of the Accident
It is the most crucial evidence in a car accident claim. You should begin by checking on the health of the driver and passengers. Then call the paramedics if there are victims who have suffered severe injuries. Be sure to alert the police as they write a report that ascertains the driver at fault (legally). Note that while the police report is presented at court during trial it is often considered hearsay evidence hence may not be cross-examined like other a witness statement.
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As such, it is important for the plaintiff to file a report with the police. His evidence is inadmissible if the case goes to trial. You should also obtain the address, name and driver’s license and number plate as well as the insurance information. If any of the drivers are employed, you should take the employer’s contact.
The names and contacts of the witnesses and passengers at the scene also come in handy as your attorney will obtain an official statement later. The statements also help determine the driver at fault. You should also take photographs of the scene and get video surveillance from neighboring companies to help create a clear picture of the incident during the trial. If the driver at fault was talking on his mobile phone at the time of the accident, obtain his cellphone records to prove that he was texting or driving. Skid marks also help determine each vehicle’s direction before the crash, the speed and braking.
A significant amount of financial compensation is used to recover personal and physical damages. As such, you should collect all the records regarding repairs performed on the car. The documentation should include recent improvements made to the vehicle before the accident. For instance, a car that had all the four tires replaced recently should increase the value of the vehicle’s compensation by that amount if the plaintiff has proof of the expenses. The receipts should indicate the type of work performed on the car and the part repaired. You should also obtain car rental receipts for the time you couldn’t drive. If the vehicle has been totaled, get a statement from the repair shop explaining why the procedure was performed.
It is the most important component of evidence as it forms the basis of financial compensation for most victims. The victim should receive prompt medical attention and inform the healthcare provider that he was involved in an accident. He should also maintain a journal showing any appointments he has had with the doctor as a result of the injury, and the amount of money he should pay for every visit. After the treatment, ask the doctor for a copy of medical records especially if there are diagnostic images like MRIs, CT scans, and x-rays. Other medical documents included in the statement include:
Hospital statements that show the date of service, treatment administered for the injury, any ER visits and any other reason the victim was in the hospital
- Costs of medication for over-the-counter drugs and prescriptions
- Costs of special medical devices, e.g., wheelchairs, clutches, and braces
- Visits to physical, occupational and rehabilitative therapies
- Other medical records if the victim visited a psychiatrist, psychologist or mental health counselor
It is here where you also include expenses regarding the lost wages, the pain, suffering, and loss of life’s daily pleasures as a result of the injury.
The attorney may engage an accident reconstruction expert to help provide a graphic scene of the accident. It helps the jury understand the impact of the accident on the aggrieved party and give a favorable award. Medical experts may also be called to testify to the victim’s extent of injuries and how they will affect his life. The testimony also gives legitimacy to the injury claim.
If the victim has filed a personal injury claim, he should obtain adequate evidence from the driver at fault. He can achieve this using car accident interrogatories, i.e., written questions that the party should provide answers under oath. The inquiries are also used to gather useful information about the accused conduct before the accident.
Chicago, IL car accident lawyers are also allowed to gather evidence using a deposition, i.e., an out-of-court testimony provided under oath, recorded and transcribed by the court reporter. The statement makes a useful piece of evidence during trial especially when the attorney wants to impeach a witness testimony.
During the trial, the attorney may also use discovery evidence to validate his case. He requests information from the defendant’s lawyer and obtains a deposition testimony from the driver at fault. The lawyer may also engage any other individuals, e.g., the accused colleagues if they have information.
The plaintiff’s testimony also adds crucial evidence. You will be required to give your version of events and how the injuries have affected your life. The answers provided have a significant impact on the whole trial and the insurance settlement process.
All these pieces of evidence are crucial to validating the plaintiff’s burden of proof. It is important to conduct the investigation after the accident as some pieces of evidence, e.g. skid marks may disappear quickly. The sooner you engage the law firm to begin investigations the higher the chances of maximizing the financial recovery.