Immediately following an accident, one of the most important things to do is find and preserve the evidence of what happened. The quality and quantity of your evidence can mean the difference between an average personal injury settlement and a substantial one that can adequately cover your expenses.
At the Scene
Your best-case scenario is to gather evidence at the scene of the accident. If you do not severe injuries, you can likely collect the information yourself. Take photos and videos of the accident, including damage to the vehicles involved and your injuries. Photos should include any abrasions or contusions on your body, damaged clothing and the scene of the accident. Make sure your phone or camera has a timestamp so the date is recorded.
Obtain information from any other parties involved. In a car accident, this may be the other driver, passengers, pedestrians, and witnesses. Collect their names and phone numbers and get a photo of the other driver’s license and vehicle plates. In a premises liability case, get the information of staff members. In a workplace accident, record which coworkers were there when you were injured. The more information you can get from those around you at the time of the accident, the better.
In other cases, it may be impossible to gather evidence at the scene of the accident. You may have severe injuries and have to leave in an ambulance or you may be unconscious. If you cannot gather evidence at the scene, do so as soon as possible or ask someone else to do it for you.
Also, keep your medical records relating to your injuries, such as a paramedic report, emergency room charts, and results of any tests. Keep a copy of the treatment plan from your doctor. Get a copy of the official police report; official documents are hard evidence of your damages and injuries.
Keeping Evidence Organized
As you gather evidence for your case, it can quickly become a disorganized mess. Organize your evidence into groups; keep a file or binder with separate folders for injury evidence, witness statements, photos, police reports, clothing from the accident, public records, and your own account. Keeping your evidence organized makes life easier for you and your attorney.
Prevent Evidence Spoliation
To prevent evidence spoliation, which is the destruction of evidence, enlist the legal guidance of an attorney immediately following an accident. An attorney can send a letter to the defendant preventing this from happening. A spoliation letter informs an at-fault party of the pending claim and makes it harder for them to cover up purposefully destroyed evidence. If the defendant does destroy evidence, your attorney can file a spoliation motion during trial.
If you have been injured in an accident due to someone else’s negligence, please contact our Orange County personal injury lawyers at Law Office of Marshall Silberberg. We take all cases on a contingency fee basis, meaning you don’t owe any legal fees unless we recover compensation for you!
Call (949) 565-4281 or contact us online today for a free consultation.