One of the most basic legal rules is that in order to win a lawsuit, a plaintiff must meet their burden of proof. Burdens of proof vary across types of cases. In civil cases such as personal injury cases and car accident cases, the burden of proof is a standard known as “preponderance of the evidence,” meaning that a plaintiff must prove his or her case by showing that it is more likely than not that an accident occurred, and that someone’s carelessness or negligence caused it.
But how does a plaintiff meet the burden of proof and win a car accident case? By providing evidence.
What kind of evidence is important in car crash cases?
More specifically, in car accident cases, it’s important that evidence exists in different forms, and that the evidence shows a full and complete picture of exactly what occurred. Here’s a list of some types of evidence that are most useful in car accident lawsuits.
1. Record your memories.
Memories are fleeting, and usually, recollections fade much faster than we expect them to. As soon as you possibly can, write down or record everything you can remember about a car accident, including the moments before, during, and after. Think about details – what was the weather? What were you listening to on the radio? What sounds did you hear? Did anyone speak to you after the accident? Were there any witnesses? Even if you think something may not be important later, it’s best to take a record of everything.
2. Take photographs and videos.
Immediately after an accident, use your cell phone to take photographs and videos of everything, including the damage to your vehicle and your surroundings. Sometimes, things that appear in the background of pictures or videos turn out to be very helpful. Take as many photos and videos as possible.
3. Make copies of all records and reports, including medical records.
It’s not uncommon for police reports and medical records to get lost, misplaced, or damaged. As soon as you receive any document or report, take a copy of it so it can be digitally preserved and saved.
4. Document your injuries.
Some of the most important pieces of evidence in car accident cases relate to a plaintiff’s injuries. After all, a plaintiff’s injuries provide the basis for their compensation. Make records relating to all of your injuries, including pain and physical symptoms, as well as lost wages, missed work, and emotional stress. When it comes to settlement negotiations, records like this will enable your lawyer to have an informed perspective on how much compensation you should receive.
5. Think about other sources.
What other sources might be available for evidence? Were there any businesses nearby that may have security cameras or surveillance cameras? Were there witnesses? Your lawyer can usually help do investigative work with these types of sources, but making a list can be very helpful in providing places to start.
If you or a loved one have been injured in a car accident, it is incredibly important that you speak with an attorney as soon as possible. Getting an attorney involved early can help in the collection of evidence, strengthen your case, and give you the best chance to maximize your compensation.