Winning a personal injury case requires two key components. To begin, you must establish that the at-fault party was negligent.
It will be impossible to prove that the other party’s conduct caused your injury without evidence. You won’t get a fair settlement or court award if you can’t prove their fault.
You do not require the services of an attorney to begin gathering evidence. Santa Barbara personal injury lawyers say that you can collect the types of evidence you need by saving tangible items, taking images of evidence you can’t keep, and sending the at-fault parties a spoliation notice.
Evidence Types You’ll Need to Win Your Case
When you have good proof on your side, insurance adjusters are more likely to award a greater settlement. The adjuster does not want it to be seen by jurors if it is utilised in court.
1. Observable Evidence
Physical evidence allows jurors to see and observe how the accident happened and the extent of your injuries if your case goes to trial:
Tangible evidence is anything the jury can engage with, touch, or see directly in front of them.
Surveillance films from a slip and fall, pictures of a car accident scene, and photos of your injuries are all examples of photographic evidence.
Print copies of your images on high-quality paper and use a pen to jot down the important characteristics of each image on the back.
On the back of the photo, write:
- A brief description of the image
- The date on which the photograph was shot
- Who was the photographer?
- The place where the picture was taken
In your accident claim file, keep the original images. Keep your original prints safe at all times. You can print copies or email digital copies of your photo and video files to friends and family.
2. Documentary Proof
The type of documentation you’ll need will depend on the type of claim you’re filing and the nature of your injury.
Documentary evidence can contain the following items:
- Medical bills and records
- According to police reports
- Reports on incidents
- Evidence of missed wages
- Your injury log, which includes details on what happened, as well as your pain and emotional anguish.
- Invoices from auto repair shops
- Any further documentation of your injuries or the losses you have incurred
Never tamper with a document’s original copy. Make as many copies as you need to write on or share. Organize your documents so that you can find information quickly when you need it.
How to Collect Physical Proof
You can obtain and secure evidence that may be in the hands of the at-fault party whether you handle your claim yourself or engage an attorney.
Ideally, you or someone on your behalf should begin collecting tangible evidence at the location as soon as the incident occurs.
If not, go back to the accident area as quickly as possible. You may notice a tripping hazard or a broken traffic signal depending on the sort of mishap. Take video or photographs of the entire area.
Even if photographing every detail now may not appear to be necessary, it may be in the future. If you decide to engage a lawyer, you should provide as much proof as possible to support your claim.
Your primary concern is for your safety. If you require medical attention or the area is dangerous, do not attempt to gather evidence.
Do everything you can to keep physical evidence as it was at the time of the accident. Take images of the object if you can’t keep it safe.
The following are some tangible goods to collect:
- Clothing and shoes that are bloody, charred, or otherwise damaged
- Jewelry that has been broken
- Packaging, purchase receipts, warranties, and instruction manuals for a damaged product
Use a permanent marker to label the bag, indicating what it is, how it relates to your case, and the date. “Ripped and bloodied jeans from a dog bite on June 21, 2020,” for example.
If there are any witnesses who can testify about the evidence, including their names and contact information on the bag as well.
Photographic Evidence in a Variety of Cases
Take as many images and videos of the accident scene as possible. If you’re unable to snap photographs due to physical limitations, you can enlist the help of a companion, such as a friend or family member.
While different camera settings may make photographic evidence easier to see and interpret, you should never edit or modify a photograph. It only takes one altered image to cast doubt on your entire claim.
Take pictures of the following after a car accident:
- All vehicles have been damaged, including broken glass and scattered parts.
- Other objects, such as trees and street signs, may be harmed.
- The scene of the vehicle accident, with new skid marks
- The position of the automobiles right after the collision.
- Clothing, luggage, and jewellery are all examples of personal property damage.
- Weather conditions at the moment
Take pictures of the following after a slip and fall accident:
- From your point of view, the place where you fell
- Anything that could have caused your fall, such as broken stairs, a wet floor, or sagging carpeting, should be investigated.
- Your outfit and footwear
- Merchandise that has broken down
Take pictures of the following after a dog attack:
- The owner and his dog
- The bite’s exact location is unknown.
- Your soiled or torn garments
Take pictures of the following after being wounded by a defective product:
- The state of the damaged product right after it malfunctioned
- If your injuries resulted in physical damage to your home or car, the surrounding area.
- Any clothing damage, such as burns or tears
Your Injuries in Photographs
Always take images of your bodily injuries, regardless of the circumstances. Take them before and after you obtain initial medical attention, if possible. Take images before and after surgery or other medical procedures to help your injuries heal.
Continue to document your recuperation by taking images every few days. Take pictures of any issues you have during the healing process, such as an infection.