Car accidents may cause serious financial and emotional implications, which make fighting for fair and appropriate compensation essential to an accident victim's recovery. In this fight for compensation and justice, evidence is crucial. In this blog, we'll discuss the frequently asked questions about evidence in car accident cases that our auto accident and truck accident lawyers hear the most.
If you've been injured in a car or truck accident, call Impact Legal today. Getting an injury lawyer on your side promptly is often crucial to getting the settlement you deserve and need. We will review your case for free. To schedule an initial consultation, call or text 602-345-1818, or fill out our convenient online consultation request form.
What Evidence Should I Collect at the Scene?
In a car accident, the plaintiff must have evidentiary support to prove his/her version of events, claims of injury, and claims for damages. Collecting evidence at the scene of the accident is vital to proving these elements. Collecting this evidence minutes after an accident can prove to be difficult. With adrenaline pumping following an auto accident, anxiety, confusion, and uncertainty may be on high. The first step is to ensure you and others involved are safe. If someone needs immediate medical attention, call 911 swiftly. To review our complete accident checklist, click this link. After you've confirmed that everyone is safe, it's important to gather a few basic things at the scene. Important evidence that you should collect at the scene of the accident includes:
- Photographs - Ensure that you can collect these safely. If you can, take photos of the vehicles involved, highlighting the property damage sustained. Take photos of any skid marks, ground markings, damaged guardrails, signs, fences, etc. It's important to collect any photos that may help you tell the story and prove fault in the case.
- The Official Police Report - No matter how minimal an accident, you should call the authorities. They will draft an official police report, which will play a large role in your potential case.
- Eyewitness Reports - Credible witnesses can help you prove fault, which will determine your ultimate car accident settlement. If there are witnesses, try to speak with them to confirm what they saw, and get their contact information. For more information on the importance of obtaining witness information, see our blog on the topic.
- Other Driver Information - After an accident, it's important to get the information of the other driver(s) involved. Get the license plate number as soon as possible to ensure no one tries to prematurely drive away from the scene. Then, collect other drivers' names, addresses, phone numbers, and insurance information.
- Medical Reports - After your accident, it's important to be assessed by a medical professional. Adrenaline can mask symptoms, causing injuries to show up hours or days after the accident. Obtaining that initial medical report may ensure that you get the settlement you need and deserve, so even if you “feel fine,” go to the doctor after an accident.
What Evidence Will Help Prove Fault in a Car Accident?
There are different forms of evidence used to determine liability in an accident, which makes gathering thorough and accurate information in a personal injury case crucial to obtaining an appropriate settlement offer. Evidence used to determine fault may include:
- The police report
- Property damage (damage to vehicles, surrounding objects, the road, ground, etc)
- Bodily injuries
- Video footage and photographs
- Forensic analysis in some cases
- Medical reports
- Medical bills and other relevant expenses
- Eyewitness interviews
Of course, which forms of evidence will be most helpful to a case depend on the specific facts of that individual case. It's recommended to work with your auto or truck accident lawyer to gather the evidence needed for your specific case.
Are Eyewitness Reports Usable in a Car Accident Case?
Yes, credible eyewitness reports are usable and recommended in a car accident case. Eyewitness reports may go a long way in securing appropriate settlements in a car accident case. A witness' level of credibility plays a significant role in the impact it will have on a plaintiff's case. The insurance company may try to discredit a witness in an effort to pay a smaller settlement. For this reason, if fault is contested and the case hinges on witness testimony, you should ensure that your witness is credible with a clean criminal history, clear moral character, not a relative or friend, mentally competent, and not under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Some examples of non-credible witnesses include:
- Distracted witnesses (someone who was preoccupied when the accident occurred)
- Witnesses providing inconsistent accounts of the accident
- Witnesses who did not see the entirety of the accident
- Witnesses who are related to victims of the accident
- Any witnesses who may have financial interest in the case
- Witnesses who are inarticulate due to age, IQ, mental disability, or are otherwise impaired
- Witnesses who are under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the time of the accident
Should I Go to the Doctor After an Accident?
Yes, you should go to the doctor after an accident. Even if you believe you are not hurt, you should at least get checked out by a medical professional. Serious injuries often are not felt for hours or days after an accident because of adrenaline-masked symptoms. Additionally, many insurance companies have policies with timelines on when you must see a medical professional in order to file your claim. Having medical records to prove your injuries and damages will play an important role in receiving the compensation you deserve and need.
Additionally, if needed, you should continue to see a doctor for your injuries. Don't get the initial checkup, and decide that's enough. Continued medical treatment is essential in many cases to ensure maximum physical and financial recovery. Many people stop going to the doctor because they don't have the money to pay the medical bills. Know that car accident settlements may include past and future medical expenses, so do not neglect treatment if you need it.
What Should I Bring to My Accident Lawyer Free Consultation?
With car accident cases, it's essential to collect and maintain thorough documentation. Keep a file of everything you've gathered from your accident and injuries, and bring it to your lawyer. At the initial consultation, our auto accident lawyers in Arizona and New Mexico will let you know if any additional evidence and documentation are needed, and help you obtain it. To help you prepare for your free initial case review, we've put together this checklist.
When Should I Consult a Lawyer After an Accident?
To get the outcome you deserve and maximize your settlement so that you can recover, we advise consulting an auto accident lawyer as soon as possible after your accident. If you've been hurt in an accident, call or text Impact Legal at 602-345-1818 to set up an initial consultation at no charge to you. You can also fill out our secure online form to request a consultation. You're not alone in this process – our lawyers will fight to protect your rights and get you the settlement you need to get your life back on track.