If you’ve been injured and another party is at fault, you could be entitled to compensation through a personal injury claim. Since the legal burden of proof falls to the plaintiff — the person filing the claim — gathering personal injury evidence is a critical process that can make or break your case. Consult the list below to make sure the evidence-gathering process for your personal injury claim is successful. When it doubt, contact an experienced personal injury lawyer.
Document Your Injuries
After an accident or other personal injury, make sure to report your injuries to a doctor as soon as possible. Medical records are critical pieces of personal injury evidence.
Don’t put off going to a doctor or other medical professional following the incident. Pain or swelling that might seem mild now can develop into serious chronic issues later. If you delay seeking treatment, it could appear that you weren’t as seriously injured as you might actually have been.
Request copies of your medical records, including doctor’s notes, surgical reports, X-rays and MRI results so that you’ll have them on hand. Psychological reports can also be useful for demonstrating mental and emotional pain and suffering.
Make sure to photograph your injuries too. Record any visibile bruises, cuts, marks or swelling. Take photos and/or videos of any bandages or casts you needed.
Keep a record of your appointments and medical bill receipts to prove the cost of your treatment. To sum it up, be as thorough as you can when you’re gathering evidence for a personal injury claim.
Write Everything Down
Write down everything that happened as soon as possible so that you have a detailed record you can reference going forward. Note where you were going, who you were with, what you were doing before, during and after the incident.
Include every detail you can recall — what you saw, heard and felt. Do you remember anyone saying anything about the incident? Write that down too. In addition to describing the accident and your injuries, describe the impact it’s had on your daily life.
Keep notes in the early days following the incident to record any and all ill effects, like pain, insomnia or anxiety. Record all pain, no matter how minor it might seem. It bears repeating that some pains start out small but develop into serious, chronic problems.
Be sure to document any economic losses you’ve suffered as a result of the accident. Personal losses, like missing family gatherings or special events, should also be recorded since they contribute to pain and suffering.
Go Back to the Scene
If the incident your claim is based on happened away from home, go back to the place where it happened as soon as possible to photograph any evidence you can find, such as conditions that you believe caused or contributed to the event. If you go back to the scene, you might also find a witness to what happened to you, or perhaps someone who has seen the same thing happen to someone else.
Take photos from all angles. Try to return at the same time of day and/or on the same day of the week if timing played a role in the conditions leading to the incident, such as increased vehicular or foot traffic.
A personal injury lawyer can remove the guesswork and help with gathering the key personal injury evidence you need to prove your claim.
Photos for Personal Injury Claims
Take photos of physical evidence, like loose carpeting or other hazards that contributed to the accident. Take lots of photos — it’s better to have too many than too few. Make sure your camera, whether it’s a smartphone camera or another type, has a time stamp on the photos that proves when the images were taken. Most digital images automatically include metadata that demonstrates when the photos were captured to remove any doubt as to their timing.
Witnesses for Personal Injuries
Witness testimony can be invaluable for proving your case. Not only can it help to confirm your story, but a witness might be able to provide information you didn’t know personally or don’t remember because you were in pain or otherwise distracted by the incident. Try to contact and get statements from witnesses as soon as possible — before memories fade or phone numbers get changed.
Video Evidence for Personal Injury Cases
Video surveillance evidence can be critical to proving a claim. Find out if there is security footage of your accident. Perhaps street cameras or a dash cam captured the accident as it happened.
Video footage often makes the issue of liability clear cut. An insurance company or defense attorney can’t speculate about how the victim could be at fault when video surveillance clearly shows what happened.
Because personal injury video evidence can make or break a case, insurance companies and defense lawyers often conduct video surveillance on claimants in an attempt to prove their injuries are exaggerated or fabricated. A personal injury lawyer can advise you of your rights and let you know what to look out for and activities to avoid. A lawyer can also argue against any surveillance footage that the defense might present and help you win the compensation you deserve.
If the police were called to the scene of your accident, they probably filled out a report. If they didn’t provide you a copy at the scene, contact that law enforcement agency and request a copy of your report.
If your accident happened in the workplace or in another place of business, such as a restaurant, that business should have reported the accident. Request a copy of the accident report filed by that business to include with your case files.
Get in Touch with a Personal Injury Law Firm
If you were injured as a result of another party’s negligence or ill intention, consider contacting a law firm that specializes in personal injury law. A personal injury lawyer can help make sure you don’t overlook any evidence that could be crucial for proving your personal injury claim.