A car accident can leave you flustered and angry, especially when you get injured. Your ability to recover from your injuries often depends on the amount of money you can collect from the at-fault driver. To increase your chances of success, you need to collect specific evidence to help prove your case.
Although you may not be thinking about what evidence is needed, following the list below will help your legal team step in and be your legal advocate. Speaking with a lawyer as soon as possible after your accident is one of the best decisions you can make.
Before the list of evidence is discussed, the concept of negligence must be explored. When another driver causes an accident, you will want to prove they were negligent. To do that, you will need to show:
- The other driver owed you a duty of care to drive safely.
- The other driver breached that duty of care by driving negligently, recklessly, or carelessly.
- Because of the other driver’s breach of duty, they caused an accident.
- You were injured or suffered property damage in the accident.
Proving negligence may seem obvious to you, since you experienced the collision. However, to prove negligence to a legal standard, you will need to collect relevant evidence.
Police Accident Report
The first item most people think of when collecting evidence after a car accident is the police report. When a collision occurs, the police will document the accident with certain information:
- Location of the accident
- Time of the accident
- Names and contact information of people involved in the accident
- Names and contact details of witnesses
- A brief description of what occurred
- A brief description of property damage and injuries
A police report is an objective document that police compile after speaking with all drivers and passengers, plus any witnesses. However, many police reports do not actually assign fault to one driver. Instead, it is left up to the insurance companies to battle over who is at fault, especially if one driver does not admit fault.
Even when the police report does not list a driver at fault, it can be valuable evidence of the accident. It shows that an accident occurred, who was involved, and provides witness contact information, something crucial for your legal team. Witnesses often provide unique perspectives about the seconds leading up to a collision and can help determine who was to blame.
Therefore, it is vitally important to get witness contact information at the accident scene. Many witnesses will not wait around for police to arrive to give a statement, especially if the accident is minor. By getting all witness contact information, your legal team can speak with them as soon as possible, before they forget what they saw.
Photos and Video
Some of the best evidence of your car accident is going to be visual. Taking photos and video of the accident can prove invaluable by documenting the entire accident scene, the damage to all vehicles involved, and any injuries. This can lead to conclusions about what and who caused the accident.
Depending on where your accident occurred, there may be video and security camera footage available. Your lawyer will speak with neighboring businesses and even government agencies to see if cameras were recording at the time of the accident. These images could help show that a driver ran a red light, for example, providing conclusive evidence of their fault.
Your medical records are going to be vital for proving negligence. Depending on the severity of your injuries, you may have been taken to the hospital for treatment. Those records will be necessary to show the level of treatment you received, the severity of your injuries, and the costs to provide you with adequate medical care.
Even if you did not have to go to the hospital, going to your regular doctor and getting copies of those records can also be valuable. Your regular doctor knows your physical condition better than anyone and will have years of medical records to show what your life was like before and after you were injured in the car accident.
This is not a step most people in car accidents take on their own. In fact, your legal team usually collects this evidence after you have begun the personal injury claims process.
Medical experts can be vital to show how your life has been affected by the injuries you have suffered. They may also be able to provide expert opinions on whether your life will ever return to normal.
Accident reconstruction experts may also be used to help prove your case. These experts reconstruct the accident, showing the most likely causes of the collision based on all the evidence available to them. This could include everything listed above, but also a detailed review of the accident scene and the vehicles and computers that may have recorded certain details of the crash.
The whole point of collecting all this evidence is to give yourself the best chance of making a full and complete recovery after your car accident. To do that, you may need to collect substantial sums of money to ensure that you do not pay out of your own pocket. Your lawyer may try to get you compensation for:
- Pain and suffering
- Emotional distress
- Lost income
- Lost earning potential
- Loss of companionship
- Loss of life enjoyment
- Present and future medical expenses
- Rehabilitation costs
Many people injured in a car accident vastly underestimate the amount of money they will need to recover. For example, a concussion, one of the most common car accident injuries and one from which people usually make a full recovery, can cost millions of dollars in lifetime medical care. This is not a financial burden most people can assume.
Therefore, it is crucial that you partner with a trusted legal advisor who can help you estimate your future financial needs. Your injuries may prevent you from ever returning to work, at least not in the same capacity. Even though your lost income is not a medical expense, if it is related to your car accident injuries, you may be able to collect compensation from the negligent driver for your lost wages. Depending on your time out of work and your ability to return to work at all, this could be a substantial sum of money.
Although no amount of money will undo the suffering and pain you have had to endure, it will help to ensure that you do not have to bear the financial burden of the car accident. That should be the sole responsibility of the negligent driver. That is why it is so important that you collect as much evidence as quickly as possible after your accident to help give yourself the opportunity to get every dollar necessary to avoid financial hardship.
Philadelphia Car Accident Lawyers at McCann Dillon Jaffe & Lamb, LLC, Help Clients Recover from Their Accident
A car accident can change your life and can come at a great financial cost. To explore your legal options, speak with the Philadelphia car accident lawyers at McCann Dillon Jaffe & Lamb, LLC. Our experienced legal team will guide you through the process to help determine your options and fight to get you the compensation for which you are entitled. Call us today at 215-569-4888 or contact us online for a free consultation. Located in Philadelphia, Abington, and Media, Pennsylvania; Wilmington, Delaware; and Haddonfield, New Jersey, we serve clients throughout the surrounding areas.