Common Types of Evidence in Car Accident Cases
“My car has been damaged after a collision with another vehicle–I am entitled to money,” you may think. In some cases, your thought is correct. But even if you are entitled to money, you still need to prove your case. Yes, even if it is obvious that you were injured due to a car accident, you will need proof to recover any money as a result. You will need to show the following:
- There was a car accident
- The other party was at-fault or more at-fault than you
- You must show that the other party was negligent when they were operating their vehicle by failing to exercise proper care.
- The accident was the result of negligence
- You need to prove that the accident would not have happened except that the driver did not exercise due care and that there was no other cause of the crash.
- You have suffered injuries as a result of the car accident
- You must show that you suffered either mental or physical injuries as a result of the crash.
- Those injuries translate into damages
- The injuries you suffered require you to receive compensation to be whole again.
All of this requires evidence. This article details the type of evidence that you need to have to prove your car accident case and how to gather it.
Who is Responsible for Keeping Track of Evidence from a Car Accident?
A seasoned personal injury attorney knows what sort of evidence you need and can help get other evidence to help build your case. Even if you hire an attorney very soon after the crash, there will be a period of time after the crash where it is your responsibility to maintain evidence. That is why it is important to understand what evidence you may need before a crash even occurs.
Preserving Evidence after a Car Accident
Car accidents can be shocking and disorienting. They also can result in physical injuries requiring immediate attention. Whether shocked or injured, people in car accidents may not take care to record evidence after a car accident. Of course, the first thing that you should do is to receive medical care. Afterward, start gathering evidence. If there is not a police officer there, call one. If there are any eyewitnesses present, get a statement. Take pictures of the sky, the intersection, your car, their car(s), your body, and anything else that may be relevant. Get identifying information from the other driver(s) such as name, phone number, insurance company, driver’s license number, and license plate number.
Any photos that you took during the day of the crash are important. You may also be able to get surveillance photos from any traffic light cameras. There may also be footage from private surveillance cameras that you can use as well.
Here is what you should photograph following a car accident:
- Your body, highlighting any injuries that you could have suffered
- Placement of the cars
- Condition of the vehicles
- Intersection/street signs
- Weather/light conditions
- Skid marks
- Broken glass
- Property damage
- Any other debris from the collision
- Road defects or construction that might have caused the accident
- Stop signs or traffic signs
Police do not automatically come to the scene. However, it is important to get a police report for your insurance company and for any future lawsuit. Police will document vehicle damage and any damage to the area. They will talk to the parties involved as well as any witnesses. Police might declare who is at fault, but they might leave this determination up to the insurance company or jury.
While police will generally speak to eyewitnesses, nothing prevents you from speaking to them and getting their contact information. Many witnesses may decide to leave the scene once police arrive and they assume everything is okay. At that point, you may miss out on key testimony. Their testimony will provide more proof of how the accident happened.
These are reports generated by investigators or police that report damage to the vehicles and the surrounding area. It will include information about skid marks, debris, and damaged property. It will provide a theory about how the accident happened, what the cause was, and what the conditions were at the time. This can help prove fault.
Medical reports are reports that are issued by a person who treats your injuries at a hospital, in an ambulance, or at the scene of the accident. You can also get medical reports from physicians or medical professionals you see after the accident for any follow-up appointments, treatments, or surgeries.
Get medical attention as soon as possible, even if you do not feel like you are injured. A doctor’s testimony can establish that your injuries result from the car accident and not from another cause. Remember, the other side will try to argue that you either were not injured or that your injuries resulted from something other than the car accident. A doctor’s initial statement will help establish not only that the accident caused your injuries but help speculate about any future injuries. Keep seeking medical attention until you feel better.
Journals provide insight into your state of mind and how your body feels following a car accident. Document how you are feeling as soon as you can after an accident. Continue to journal for at least a few weeks. Sometimes, symptoms do not arise until a bit after an accident has occurred.
A Final Word
No matter how great your case is, do not wait too long to file your claim. In Illinois, you have two years to file a claim. It is always better to file claims sooner than later so that you can preserve key evidence and get recovery when you need it. Need legal assistance? Get the help you need today — call our office right away.