Documenting Evidence in Personal Injury Claims

Being injured in a car accident or a slip and fall accident is a stressful experience. One moment, you are living your life, and the next, everything changes. Injuries can affect you in many ways, from your physical and mental health to your ability to work, which can knock your financial stability off kilter. While you will be feeling the effects of your injuries after an accident, try to keep in mind how important it is to document evidence at the scene of the accident. When you make the decision to pursue legal action against the at-fault party, you will need this evidence to support your claim for damages in a personal injury claim. Read on for more information about the type of evidence you need to document, and why documentation is so important to maximize your claim for compensation, and call Carey Leisure Carney for a free consult!

Why Documenting Evidence is Important After an Accident

Documenting evidence is important for a number of reasons after an accident. If you are injured by the negligence of another person or entity, you may be able to file a personal injury claim for compensation. This would include compensation for the medical bills that rack up after an accident, any damage to property that occurred as a result of the accident, and compensation for the pain and suffering you experienced as a result of your accident. Because the insurance adjuster and the jury were not there to witness your accident, evidence is how attorneys present the story of what happened in your personal injury claim. Often, the quality and amount of evidence collected can have a significant impact on the credibility of your personal injury claim.

Here is a breakdown of why documenting evidence is so important to your personal injury claim:

  1. Proving Fault: In order to make a demand for relief against a negligent party, you will need to establish that the party was at fault for your injuries. Once liability has been determined, negotiations can begin in your claim.
  2. Supporting Your Claim for Damages: When you file a personal injury claim, you are not just making a claim for the damage done to your vehicle or your initial hospital visit. In many cases, you will need ongoing treatment for your injuries, resulting in recurring costs and time taken off work. Providing evidence of your medical bills and lost wages supports your demand for relief.
  3. Validate Pain and Suffering Damages: Helping the jury or insurance adjuster understand how an accident has affected your life can often be difficult, as the pain and suffering you experience every day is difficult to quantify. Providing photos of injuries, keeping a journal of how the injuries have affected your life, and providing testimony about how the injury has changed your life will help quantify these damages.
  4. Build the Timeline of Your Case and Confirm Details: Having various pieces of evidence can help reconstruct the timeline of the accident. For example, in a car accident, calling 911 immediately will provide an accurate time that the accident occurred. This combined with a police report and eyewitness testimony will help to create a detailed timeline of the events. This is helpful when there is a dispute over liability.
  5. Provide Substantial Evidence for Settlement Negotiations: The more evidence you can provide to your attorney, the better leverage they will have when negotiating your personal injury claim. Make sure that any photos or videos taken from the scene or of your injuries are clear and easy to see, because as the old adage goes, a picture is worth a thousand words.

Essentially what it comes down to is the more time you spend documenting evidence throughout the stages of your case, the better equipped your attorney will be to argue the liability and damages involved in your claim to come to a favorable settlement on your behalf.

Evidence Essential to Document in a Personal Injury Claim

The types of evidence you should document after your accident depend on the nature of what happened in the accident. These may include specific items such as a ticket to a show or a piece of clothing you were wearing it at the time of the accident. More important evidence that should be preserved after most accidents includes:

  • Photo and Video Documentation: Be sure to take 20–30 pictures of the scene of the accident after it happens. Take pictures of the general area to show the conditions as they were during the accident. If you were in a motor vehicle accident, take pictures and video of the damage to both vehicles, as often this can give clues as to where your vehicle was struck and how forceful the impact was. If you had a slip and fall, take photos and video of the condition that caused your fall. If it was liquid that caused you to slip, be sure the liquid is visible in the photos. If you happen to have fallen in a store, ask them to preserve any video footage they may have.
  • Medical Records: Be sure to seek treatment as soon as possible after an accident so you can receive a diagnosis for the injuries you sustained and get a treatment plan in place to get you feeling better. Keep a copy of any medical records from treatment you receive as a result of your accident. These will validate your diagnosis and demonstrate your efforts to feel better after the accident. The long-term care aspect will help substantiate your request for compensation.
  • Witness Testimony: Witness testimony can be a powerful tool to help tell the story of what happened in an accident. Of course, your testimony will be crucial, because you experienced the force of the collision or fall. Independent third-party witnesses can be extremely important to your personal injury claim, as they do not have a stake in the litigation, so they can provide an unbiased report of what happened in the accident. If there were any people at the scene of the accident who saw the collision or fall, be sure to get their names and contact information, as this will be extremely helpful moving forward with your claim.
  • Police Reports: A police report or an incident report is an important tool to preserve information related to an accident, including the time of the accident, and the exact location. An accident report for a motor vehicle collision will include the contact and insurance information of the parties as well. While these reports are typically not admissible on their own, they are helpful in telling the story of what happened in an accident. The police will also include the contact information of any witnesses that remain at the scene to give a statement after a car accident, which can be helpful in your personal injury claim.
  • Physical Evidence: Gather any physical evidence that relates to your claim and store it in a safe location in the condition that it was in on the date of your accident. This may include damaged or bloody clothing or vehicle parts that break off during a car accident. If you do not have a safe place to store these items, you may want to give them to your attorney to solidify the chain of custody.
  • Keep All Lost Wages Information: If you lose wages because of your accident, be sure to document this so it can be included in your personal injury claim. Documentation can include W2s, paystubs, and employment offer letters. If you work for a rideshare company such as Uber or Lyft, or a delivery company such as Uber Eats, be sure to download a record of all rides or deliveries you completed within a determined period to show the average income you received from these services.

How Carey Leisure Carney Can Help

Documenting evidence is the first important step to preserving your right to recovery after an accident. This will help tell your side of the story after an accident and ensure you are presenting a clear picture of what happened and who was at fault. If you have recently been involved in an accident and are wondering what the next steps are in filing a personal injury claim are, call Carey Leisure Carney today for a free consult. Our attorneys have been representing accident victims for over forty years and will know exactly how to put the evidence you documented in your accident to good use.