The success or failure of a personal injury case is often hinged on the evidence that supports it. While the resulting damages may be clearly painful and obvious, without substantiated proof that they are a direct result of another’s carelessness, the negligent party may not be held liable. Case studies show that the more information gathered at the scene of an accident to support a personal injury claim increases the likelihood of obtaining a fair settlement.
While the onus is on your personal injury attorney to thoroughly investigate the circumstances of the accident and provide corroboration from medical experts and accident interrogatories; information gathered by you at the scene can lend additional credence to the litigation process. Notwithstanding critical injuries that mandate immediate emergency medical care, individuals involved in an accident are advised to gather evidence such as:
- Photographs of the accident that help to paint a picture of how the accident occurred. These may include images of point of impact between vehicles, skid marks on the roadway as well as of physical injuries such as cuts, scratches, bruises and burns.
- Get contact information and if possible a testimony from anyone that witnessed the accident.
- Call and wait for the police. In “supposedly” minor incidents where the police do not show up, it is even more important to document as much information as possible about the accident.
- Get medical attention. Because medical evidence is critical in a personal injury case and may not be evident at the time of an accident it is important to be evaluated by a qualified physician at a recognized medical facility. Following this recommendation is vital especially if you are unsure of the extent of your injuries.
- Exchange insurance provider information with other parties before leaving the scene of an accident. If the other party refuses to give you this information; make a note of the license plate number of the vehicle and report their refusal to the police immediately.
In addition to the evidence obtained at the scene of the accident, it is important to gather evidence that directly link injuries to the accident. In the days immediately following an accident it is helpful to…
- Request a copy of the accident report. The police report is another vital piece of evidence that can help to determine liability for the cause of the accident.
- Keep a daily journal or record of activities relating to your health and healthcare such as noticeable inabilities or aches and pains, doctor appointments, name and location of attending physician and type of treatment obtained.
- Request a copy of treatment record and diagnostic images such as x-rays or MRIs.
- Maintain receipts and an accurate record of after-the-accident costs for pharmaceuticals, medical bills, over-the-counter medical aids, payment for transportation, caregiver assistance and any lost wages due to injuries.
Evidence of Property Damage
A significant portion of compensation awarded in a personal injury lawsuit is related to property damage. In many instances, the amount of recovery received is based on evidence gathered at the scene that shows damage to vehicles involved in the accident. However, physical evidence that is not preserved in a timely manner often get lost or significantly modified over time due to weather and or vehicle repairs.
In addition, provide your attorney or insurance company with any images showing the condition of the car prior to the wreck and receipts for any repairs or improvements made to the vehicle before the accident. Also, don’t forget to save receipts of repairs done to the car as well as document any costs for car rental or transportation while your vehicle is being repaired. This information can show the true value of your property as well as corroborate the damage caused by the accident.
Gathering pertinent evidence at the scene of the accident and thereafter can have make a significant difference in the litigation process later, should it become necessary.
To learn more about what you can do before filing a personal injury claim, call for a free consultation today at (561) 655-1990 or visit our website.
About Lytal, Reiter, Smith, Ivey & Fronrath
Conveniently located in West Palm Beach for 27 years, Lytal, Reiter, Smith, Ivey & Fronrath, LLP concentrates in Personal Injury, Wrongful death, Medical Malpractice, Product Liability and Auto accidents. At Lytal, Reiter, Smith, Ivey & Fronrath, we specialize in helping victims and their families get fair compensation for injuries caused by the negligence or recklessness of others. Our main areas of practice include personal injury, wrongful death, auto accidents, product liability, medical malpractice, and premise liability. We provide each client with the highest quality representation from a top Florida accident and injury lawyer.
Lytal, Reiter, Smith, Ivey & Fronrath
515 N Flagler Dr, 10th Floor
West Palm Beach
Florida, FL 33401
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