Evidence that might help your car accident case includes:
- The police’s official report and any evidence they collected
- Your medical records
- Relevant photographs
- Video footage from the accident scene
- Eyewitness testimonies
- Expert testimonies
- Paperwork you have received and collected since the accident
A car accident attorney can help you gather this information to make your case.
Using the Police Report as Evidence
Most states require you to report an accident to the local authorities if the crash meets a certain severity threshold. If someone was injured or if the at-fault party caused a certain amount of property damage, you have a legal duty to report the incident as soon as possible.
This could mean:
- Calling 911 from the scene
- Waiting at the scene until the police arrive
- Leaving the scene to receive emergency medical care and calling the police once you are stable
When the police arrive on the scene, they may:
- Call for medical assistance if anyone needs it
- Ask you and everyone else at the scene about what happened
- Write down the names and contact information of everyone involved
- Take photos of the scene or collect any evidence they find
They will then put all of this information in their official report. A car accident attorney can request a copy and include it in your case file.
Medical Records as Evidence
Your injuries are probably the main reason you have chosen to file a lawsuit.
You can help your car accident case by compiling evidence that proves:
- You sustained serious injuries.
- Those injuries occurred during the accident or as a direct result of the accident.
- Those injuries have had a negative effect on your life and health.
Your medical records represent some of the best, most direct evidence of your injuries available.
- Show the dates when you went to receive treatment, which can confirm your injuries occurred at the time of the accident
- Discuss not just the injuries but also the treatments you need
- Are relatively easy for your lawyer to request copies of
If you have already requested copies of your medical records, you can turn them over to your lawyer. However, you do not have to do so: your attorney has experience with gathering evidence of this type and would be happy to do it for you.
Photographic Evidence Can Be Crucial
This type of evidence is easier than ever to obtain as almost everyone nowadays owns a cellphone capable of taking pictures.
You can use this to your advantage by taking pictures of:
- Your injuries
- The damage to your vehicle
- The damage to the other driver’s vehicle
- The street the accident happened
If you have any photos of what you or your car looked like prior to the accident, give these to your lawyer also. They can help show the extent of the damage from the collision.
If you did not think to take photos at the scene, do not worry. Your lawyer may pull photos from other sources, such as witnesses’ or the other driver’s cell phone or even audiovisual footage.
Finding Audiovisual Footage of the Car Accident
Not all crashes occur in locations with cameras. However, if yours did, that evidence might help your car accident case.
Your lawyer can look in a number of places for video footage, including:
- Dash cams
- Surveillance cameras mounted on nearby buildings
- Traffic cameras
- Any cell phone footage you or a witness took
- Footage reporters who arrived at the scene afterward shot
Audiovisual footage can shows:
- The accident, in whole or in part, as it happened
- You or the other driver in the moments before the crash
- The state of the roadway prior to the accident
- You or the other driver after the crash
If you want to use video in your car accident case, you may have to act fast. Many times, someone will delete or record over the footage after a relatively short period of time. The sooner you hire a lawyer, the sooner they can find out if such footage exists and request a copy.
Eyewitnesses Can Also Provide Evidence
Your recollections of the crash, while vital, may provide only one perspective among several.
Eyewitness statements can help you because:
- They were not involved in the collision, so they were not distracted by fear or the force of the cash.
- They were in different positions, providing different perspectives on the same event.
- They have no “skin in the game” in other words, while the at-fault driver may have a motive to lie about their involvement, a witness is neutral and can provide honest testimony.
Witnesses are not available in every case. For example, maybe no one wants to come forward to talk about what they saw, or maybe the accident occurred on an otherwise empty road in the middle of the night.
Even if it seems like there were no witnesses present, your lawyer can investigate. They could either confirm the lack of witnesses or locate witnesses you did not know about.
How to Get Witness Statements?
You or your attorney can track down witnesses by:
- Getting their names and phone numbers immediately after the accident
- Reviewing the police report for information about potential witnesses
- Visiting the accident scene to determine the locations of likely witnesses
Your lawyer knows what kinds of questions to ask witnesses and how to persuade reluctant individuals to give testimony. Therefore, it is usually best to let them interview witnesses instead of trying to do so yourself.
Car Accident Evidence From Experts
Car Accident Evidence From Experts
Even individuals with no direct connection to the accident could provide important information.
For example, your lawyer might call on:
- A medical professional to confirm your diagnosis or talk about the symptoms and treatments most associated with your injuries
- associated with your injuries An accident reconstruction specialist to recreate the most likely sequence of events leading up to your crash
- An economist to discuss the financial effect your injuries may have on you, both currently and over the course of your career
- A vocational rehabilitation specialist to explain how injuries like yours could affect your career and prevent you from maintaining gainful employment
Why call on experts to build up your case? Like witnesses, experts are neutral parties with no reason to favor one side over the other. So, if they make a statement about the accident, the insurance companies and/or the court may be more likely to believe it than if you and only you had made the same claims.
Your lawyer likely knows experts in each of these key areas. They can ask these experts to offer an opinion on your case.
Your Paperwork Could Serve as Evidence
While a car accident attorney can search in various places for good evidence, you may already possess materials that could strengthen your case.
In addition to photos, you can prove you deserve damages by showing:
- Medical bills you have accumulated for hospital stays, assistive devices, and prescription medications
- Repair bills from taking your car to the mechanic
- Tax filings and pay stubs to establish how much money you made prior to the accident versus how much you can make now, with your injuries
- Receipts from accident-related purchases, such as a new phone if your old one was destroyed in the crash, or home renovations to accommodate your injuries
Save all of the paperwork, whether physical or digital, you receive after an accident. Once you hire an attorney, give that paperwork to them. It will help them establish many important facts about your case.
What Makes for Good Car Accident Evidence?
A lawyer has several goals as they collect evidence that might help their clients’ car accident cases.
These goals establish:
- Who is at fault
- That the at-fault driver had a duty to behave carefully
- That the at-fault driver behaved negligently or recklessly
- The accident only occurred because of the other driver’s negligence
- The accident caused your injuries and subsequent suffering
- The monetary worth of your injuries and financial losses
- That any accusations the liable party makes against you are baseless
Any information that proves one or more of these points is good evidence.
How Does Car Accident Evidence Help Me?
With enough evidence, you could persuade your insurer, the liable party’s insurer, or both to pay for injuries you sustained due to the accident, including:
- Pain and suffering
- Medical expenses
- Repair expenses
- Lost income or benefits
- Lost employment or employment opportunities
In collecting this compensation, you could:
- More easily afford the products and services you need to recover
- Give yourself more time to recover before returning to work
- Support your family long-term, even if you can never work again
- Hold the liable party accountable for their negligence
How to Present Evidence to Other Parties?
After your lawyer collects enough evidence to prove your case, they must present it to the other involved parties to persuade them to pay what you have asked for.
If the liable party’s insurer expresses a willingness to negotiate a settlement, a car accident attorney could:
- Arrange to meet with the liable party’s representatives in person, over the phone, or via video chat
- Walk them through all of the evidence they have collected
- Dispute the other party’s conclusions by showing that your evidence is stronger than theirs
- Inform you if and when the liable party decides to offer a settlement, and advise you about how you should respond
- Draw up the paperwork once they reach a settlement you find satisfactory
If your lawyer must take your case to court, they could:
- Submit evidence as trial exhibits to the court
- Persuade the judge to admit the exhibits into evidence, if the liable party tries to claim the court should not accept them
- Look at the liable party’s evidence to determine if it is permissible and, if not, try to persuade the judge to reject it
- Fight hard to convince the jury that you have stronger evidence than the other party and that the jury should award you compensation
What Evidence Might the Other Party Collect Against Me?
Even while you and your lawyer work to build the strongest possible case in your favor, the liable party will likely do the opposite.
They might turn to many of the same evidence sources as you did, such as:
- Photographs and video footage
- Police reports
- Statements from witnesses, experts, and even you
They might also use your own words against you.
- If you tell the police at the scene you did not suffer serious injuries, they might claim you “invented” your injuries to obtain compensation.
- If you apologize to the other driver, they might say you admitted fault and therefore do not deserve damages or that you should pay them damages instead.
- If you publish social media posts featuring yourself outside or looking happy after the accident, they might use these posts to claim your injuries are not that bad.
After an accident, you can protect yourself by saying little and contacting a lawyer as quickly as you can.
Have a Lawyer Investigate Your Car Accident Case
If you sustained injuries in a car crash, a lawyer in Myrtle Beach can guide you through the legal process that follows. They can help you collect evidence that might help your car accident case and use it to fight for the right amount of compensation. Most firms even offer free evaluations to all prospective clients.