Injury victims taking their case to trial in hopes of winning compensation for their injuries need to know what types of evidence are most relevant. If you want to win your case, you need to work with a lawyer to present the best possible evidence of the opposing party’s negligence.
The presentation of evidence is key to winning a damages award in a personal injury lawsuit. Properly submitted evidence not only helps when determining fault in a personal injury case but can also affect the amount of damages awarded to the injured plaintiff.
Failure to collect or present evidence in a personal injury claim can harm the victim’s case. In an injury lawsuit, it’s important to know what evidence to present.
If you have been injured by the negligence or intentional acts of another person, you will need to collect and present the following evidence:
- Physical Evidence: Physical evidence is any tangible object, such as a piece of a broken tail light or a shred of clothing. After an accident, you should collect such items and make sure not to alter their condition. With newer technology, it is often possible to conduct advanced analyses of physical items to determine which party was at fault.
- Evidence from the Scene of the Accident or Injury: Oftentimes, the surrounding environment plays a part in an accident. Skid marks, broken traffic lights, slippery floors, and even the position of the sun at a certain time of day can provide useful information. The injury scene may need to be described in writing or photographed.
- Documentation: Keep important papers, forms, and records related to your injury. You need to keep track of hospital bills, traffic/police incident reports, insurance statements and policies, statements signed by the other party, and pay stubs for lost wages.
- Witness Testimony: The observations and input of witnesses are also very important. Witness testimony includes oral statements made at the time of the incident, statements made afterward, and any written statements.
- Photos/Video: If you can, take pictures or videos of evidence that can be used for your case. Photograph any automobile damage before it is repaired, for instance. Nowadays, most cell phones are capable of taking high-quality images.
Don’t discount any items that might prove useful during your trial. The more evidence you have, the better. The court system and your lawyer will determine what evidence can be admitted to the record, so don’t hesitate to gather as much information as possible before the trial begins.
Physical Evidence Pertinent to the Case
Physical evidence is often left behind after a person is harmed in an incident of any kind. Items such as weapons or tangible objects may be observed in the courtroom. Clothing, equipment, tools, vehicles, and even weather patterns can provide evidence.
A courtroom might be able to gain insight into a crash or hit-and-run if the injured person was involved in an accident on the road. When determining who is at fault and what caused the injury, these types of evidence are often the most helpful.
Evidence from the Scene or Accident
Whether the accident was caused by weather, other vehicles on the road, defects, or even tripping over debris or items on the ground, these pieces of evidence are generally left at the scene.
As a result of an accident, evidence is often found on the scene or within the accident itself. In some cases, these are skid marks on the road from trying to avert another vehicle, broken glass from a window, or even the weather increasing the danger of the moment, such as a tornado or hurricane. To better explain the matter to a judge or jury, it is important to present photo evidence of these items.
Documentation is the most common form of evidence in personal injury cases.
Records such as medical data and insurance forms may be included. There are others in bills, incident reports, and statements.
Signed by the injured party, this may give the courtroom an understanding of the policy that should provide a settlement. Others cause the victim to lose wages and are represented by pay stubs.
The judge or jury may also be able to understand the issue from receipts and paperwork about repairs. Professional involvement can strengthen the case, such as a police report or hospital bill.
Testimony of Witnesses
Witnesses at the scene can increase awareness about the injuries and incidents in the courtroom. In many cases, these individuals are spectators or participants in an accident, such as a car crash.
There are also family members or friends who may provide details about what happened in court. These witnesses’ statements are important pieces of evidence used against the defendant in compensation claims.
Some are on paper, while others are recorded. Anyone who was present at the scene of the accident or crime can provide testimony if they have a connection to the case.
Video and Photos
Often, the media present at the scene of a personal injury incident is the strongest weapon against the defendant. Photographic images of the party causing the problem or engaging in malicious activity make it easier to achieve success. Similar effects can be achieved with video.
An individual may prove to the court that the defendant is responsible for injuries by using a street camera, dash cam, or other video surveillance equipment. Security cameras in a company or building may record and store the media in a computer or on a backup device.
A plaintiff may need to take certain steps to preserve the evidence once they have the necessary evidence to provide to a lawyer or to the courts. The backup of photos and videos may require a jump drive or flash drive.
Evidence may need to be kept in a secure location to prevent tampering. Witnesses may need someone to help them recall memories and take their statements quickly. Other items should be collected as soon as possible by the plaintiff.
How Should I Handle Evidence After I Collect It?
You should keep evidence items in a safe place after collecting them for evidence. In an ideal situation, you should hand over your evidence to a lawyer, who will keep it safe until the right time comes. If evidence is altered in any way before it is submitted during the trial, it can become useless.
Organize what you’ve collected, so it’s easier to use later. Because you’ll be handling a lot of paperwork, keeping your documents organized is especially important. Keep originals well-protected and make copies.
Keep your evidence private and confidential. Avoid posting images or statements about your claim on social media websites such as Facebook, Twitter, etc.
In some cases, social media websites can be accessed for legal purposes and used as evidence. In the aftermath of a car accident or injury, some people post photos and statements like, “Look how lucky I was to survive this accident.”
If such information makes its way into court, it could be used against you, so you should avoid divulging such information. A conflict between your claims and your online information could ruin your case.
Is it a Good Idea to Hire a Lawyer to Help With My Personal Injury Case?
As you can see, evidence is very important in a personal injury claim. It can also be complicated and challenging at times. It’s to your benefit to hire a personal injury lawyer for help with your personal injury claim.
To maximize your chances of obtaining legal relief, your lawyer can help you organize your evidence. Be sure to ask your attorney if you have any legal concerns regarding evidence laws in your state.