Evidence plays a very large role in the outcome of personal injury cases. Evidence must be collected and dealt with a certain way, and within a certain time frame to hold the most weight in the courtroom. When it comes to personal injury cases, a personal injury attorney’s job is to present compelling evidence to support the client’s claims. It is the personal injury lawyer’s responsibility to properly gather the evidence and documentation and certain steps must be taken by or on behalf of the client to preserve this evidence. The purpose of this post is to discuss what evidence is, how it should be preserved, the importance of promptness, and to provide practical tips to accomplish these tasks to ensure optimal results and outcomes of their cases.
Understanding the Types of Evidence
It is important to first note that the sooner in the process you hire a personal injury attorney, the better. There is great significance in gathering documentation as early on as possible and in a personal injury case, the mind frame of those impacted and their loved ones is not usually focused on that area. A good personal injury attorney will understand the steps that need to be taken and will provide you with good direction and be able to take a huge load off you and loved ones, allowing you to focus on healing, be it emotionally or physically.
There are various types of evidence that can strengthen a personal injury case, and some hold more weight than others. Some of the different types of evidence include but are not limited to:
Preserving Physical Evidence:
Evidence, as defined by the Collins Dictionary, is anything you see, experience, read, or are told that causes you to believe something is true or has really happened. To preserve means to ensure it remains as is, unaltered in any way. Preserving physical evidence is simply ensuring its integrity remains intact. The more evidence you have, the stronger your case will be and the more likely that case will end in a settlement that is desirable. A few tips to preserve evidence include things like:
- Write every detail down as soon as you are able. Providing your own statement as quickly as possible while the events are fresh in your mind is essential to preserving what happened. It is also advised to contact the police and writing an official police report. Note that the police will document the other parties information as well and can give an account of the accident. While this is not absolutely necessary, it can be helpful in building your case.
- Have witnesses write down what they saw as early on as possible while it is still fresh in their minds. Memories fade and the longer you wait, the less credible your witness becomes and the more likely it is for stories to change or details to be left out. Sometimes the smallest details can make the biggest differences in a personal injury case. Getting these testimonials and witness statements taken by the right people and having their preservation held intact is essential. Your attorney will greatly be able to assist in this area.
- Seek medical attention immediately and get both receipts and medical records as you go. The longer you wait to seek medical treatment for your injuries, the more leverage you give insurance companies and other involved parties to dispute your claims.
- Take photos and videos of injuries and damages. For example: damaged property, defective products, vehicle parts and their part numbers, cuts, scrapes, bruises, swelling and more.
Any delay in gathering this information could result in that information being lost, destroyed, or altered.
Gathering Medical Documentation:
Medical documentation holds significant weight in the courtroom for personal injury cases. A good personal injury attorney will collaborate effectively with your medical professionals to gather comprehensive and persuasive medical evidence. Everything from medical records, medical receipts or invoices, treatment plans, and diagnostic tests will establish the extent and impact of injuries. Getting expert medical opinions from both seen medical professionals and experts in the medical field will build credibility and contribute to the success of the case.
Utilizing Surveillance Footage and Photographs
There is a growing significance of surveillance footage and photos in personal injury cases. If you were unable to get photos of the situation due to injuries (car accident for example), your attorney can work with investigators, police, bystanders, etc on obtaining photos and video footage from the scene. This information can come from security cameras, dash cams, photos taken on the scene, etc and provide evidence to support the client’s and witnesses’ version of events. Again, the quicker action is taken in this area the better. A personal injury attorney will be able to provide guidance or be able to obtain, analyze, and present this evidence effectively.
Admissibility and Authenticity
All evidence must follow a proper chain of custody, proper documentation, and expert authentication in establishing the authenticity of the evidence. There are many steps that can and should be taken to ensure evidence meets these criteria. A lawyer will be able to ensure evidence they present meets these criteria and will be able to be used to strengthen the case, not harm it. Improper handling of evidence can lead to it being thrown out, which can drastically hurt a case and the credibility of those presenting it.
In conclusion, when you or a loved one are dealing with a personal injury case, the quality and relevance of evidence can strongly impact the outcome. It is very important to understand the evidence, how it is and should be documented, and having a strong strategy for gathering and preserving it. When you or a loved one are recovering, healing, or focusing on the road to normalcy after a traumatic event that led to the personal injury case, this can be very overwhelming and easy to ignore. Having a strong personal injury lawyer in your corner can provide clients with peace of mind and give them the best possible chance of obtaining a favorable resolution to their case.
Contact Liriano Law Firm for more information and tips on how to get the outcome you deserve in your personal injury case today. We welcome all personal injury case inquiries and offer a free consultation to discuss the details of your situation. Be sure to Call Carmen today!