What Do You Need for a Good Auto Accident Case?
July 31, 2018 | Personal Injury
There is never a good time to be involved in a car accident and even if no one is injured there is still pain and anguish- the frustration of dealing with insurance claims. If someone is injured in an auto accident then you have to face the battle to get compensation for your injuries and build a case to bring against the responsible party. After a car accident, in order to best build your case for a claim or lawsuit, you must gather as much evidence as possible to prove your side of the case. The more documentation you have, the easier it will be to prove your case and, the more likely you are get the judge to rule a verdict that is in your favor. Here are some things you will need to know in order to build a good auto accident case:
Evidence and the Burden of Proof
The insurance companies know that the burden of proof in obtaining compensation after a car accident case lies with the person seeking damages. That means that the injured party — called the plaintiff — bears the burden of establishing that the other driver was at fault in causing the car accident and that the plaintiff suffered injury and damages. In order to meet the burden of proof, it is necessary that you substantiate all of your claims with evidence that supports your version of the events leading up to the accident as well as your claims for physical injury and lost wages. Evidence can come in many forms and may include documents such as medical bills and records, photographs, and witness statements or testimony. Here are the main types of evidence that you will need to try and get a hold of to present at your haring for your injury case and insurance claim:
Evidence from the Scene of the Accident
- Make sure everyone is ok and call for an ambulance if anyone is obviously injured. Keep all records of calls made to emergency service to prove time and location of the accident and how many injured people were involved in the accident.
- Regardless of how bad the damage is or whether or not there are any injuries, call the police and file an accident report. Having a police report created right there at the scene will help cement the details of the accident rather than waiting for it to be done later when facts get misconstrued and memory lapses occur.
- Take the time to gather all pertinent evidence at the scene of the accident. Ask for license, insurance, plate and tag info, and personal contact information for everyone involved. If someone was driving a company vehicle at the time of the accident get the employers information as well. Keep all of these records and make copies if they are requested, never give away your copies.
- Get statements from any witnesses who saw the accident. Also, if you can take photos or video of the scene to document the extent of the damages and the scene after the accident. It can be valuable evidence to prove who was at fault for the accident.
- Pay close attention to the condition of the vehicles involved, the location of traffic signals, and any obvious skid marks or other evidence. This all could come into play during the court hearing so you always want to document everything you can.
Evidence of Damages
In most car accident cases, the bulk of the compensation amount is to cover damages to the vehicle as well as medical expenses.
- Gather all records related to car repairs and car rentals. Pull records of recent upgrades and repairs that were made to your vehicle before the accident to help validate what the cost to replace the vehicle would be. For instance, if your car was totaled in the accident, you can prove your need for $20,000 to cover its replacement if it was valued at $15,000 and you recently added $5,000 worth of upgrades to the sound system, interior seats, and a new paintjob. All of these upgrades need to have receipts to accompany them.
- Probably the most important component of evidence gathering in car accident cases relates to documenting physical injuries. After a car accident you likely will seek medical treatment of some kind, even if it is just to check for injuries. If you are obviously injured or turn out to be seriously injured, it is imperative that you keep all medical reciepts, proof of Dr. appointments, medication records, and all out of pocket expenses you are paying for your medical care. You should ask your health care provider for all reports, records, scan and test results, images, and other documentation for any procedure or treatment that was done related to injuries you sustained from the auto accident.
- You will also want to gather any information related to lost wages. Many personal injury cases involving auto accidents will include some amount target to help offset the loss of wages due to your inability to work because of your injuries. Past pay stubs, current work schedule, and other records to prove what you usually make each week/month will help you prove your needs when it comes to lost wage compensation.
If you have filed a personal injury lawsuit, one option you have for gaining evidence is through the use of car accident interrogatories. These are written questions that the other party must answer, under oath, in a timeframe specified by the judge.
You can also use a deposition, which is out-of-court testimony, given under oath, to gain valuable evidence about the auto accident. These depositions can open up new evidence are and generally recorded and transcribed by a court reporter and can be used in the case.
The more documentation and information you have, the stronger your case will be, and the more likely you will obtain a satisfactory resolution to your claim. If you have questions about your case and what you can and need to do to prepare for your court hearing, contact us today and let our team of legal professionals help you.
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