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What Is the Importance of Preserving Evidence?

In a personal injury claim, where you seek compensation for injuries caused by another party's negligence, preserving evidence is critical. Evidence acts as the building blocks of your case, helping establish what happened, who's responsible, and the extent of your damages.

Strong evidence, like witness statements, medical records, and clear photos of the accident scene, strengthens your claim. It allows you to clearly demonstrate how the other party's actions caused your injuries. This can lead to a quicker settlement or a stronger case in court, ultimately increasing your chances of receiving fair compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

However, a lack of evidence can significantly weaken your case. Memories fade over time, and without documented proof, it becomes difficult to establish key details like the cause of the accident or the severity of your injuries. This can leave room for the other party to dispute your claims, potentially resulting in a lower settlement offer or even a loss in court.

Even worse than missing evidence is compromised evidence. If evidence is lost, tampered with, or poorly collected, it may be deemed inadmissible in court. For instance, blurry photographs or a damaged chain of custody for a medical sample can cast doubt on the evidence's validity. This can be just as detrimental to your case as missing evidence altogether.

How to Preserve Evidence for Your Personal Injury Claim

In the aftermath of an accident, while ensuring your safety and seeking medical attention are top priorities, taking steps to preserve evidence is crucial for protecting your right to fair compensation. By documenting the scene and gathering key details, you can build a strong foundation for a potential personal injury claim. Here are some essential tips to remember:

  • Document the scene thoroughly:
    • Take photos and videos of the accident scene from multiple angles, capturing damage, skid marks, debris, and traffic signals.
    • Note down weather conditions, time of day, and any road hazards.
    • If possible, record a brief video statement describing the events as you recall them.
  • Gather witness information:
    • Be sure to ask witnesses for their names and contact details.
    • If possible, obtain written statements from them describing their observations of the accident.
  • Protect the physical evidence:
    • Leave the scene untouched (if it is safe to do so). Don't move your car or anything else at the scene unless absolutely necessary for safety reasons. This will help preserve skid marks, debris, and other crucial details.
    • Don't throw away damaged clothing or gear. Damaged items can demonstrate the force of the impact and support your injury claims. Keep them in a safe place for further investigation.
    • See a doctor immediately, even if you feel fine. Get a documented medical evaluation of your injuries. Follow all treatment recommendations from your doctor. This will create a clear paper trail linking your injuries to the accident.
    • Keep copies of all medical records and bills. Hold on to all receipts related to your accident and medical care. This will be crucial evidence for documenting the extent of your damages.
    • Avoid discussing the accident on social media. Anything you post online could be used against you later. It's best to keep the details of the accident private until your claim is resolved.
    • Report the accident to the appropriate authorities. File a police report as soon as possible after the accident. This will create an official record of the event.

By following these steps and acting promptly, you can significantly increase your chances of a fair outcome in a personal injury claim. Remember, the more comprehensive your evidence collection, the stronger your case will be.

It is also important to note that you and your attorney can return to the scene of the accident. While you want to have scenes of the scene that reflect the conditions and scene, returning to the scene may allow you to notice things that you didn’t before or see things from a new angle. For instance, if you slip and fall on someone’s front steps, you may notice that the stairs are even more worn than the photos you previously took show.

Let an Attorney Help with Evidence Preservation & Collection

Attorneys possess the experience and resources to gather comprehensive evidence that strengthens your case. Firstly, attorneys understand the legal significance of different types of evidence.

Beyond the immediate photos and videos you take at the scene, they'll know how to obtain police reports, accident scene diagrams, and even surveillance footage if available. They can also track down and interview witnesses, ensuring their statements are documented accurately, and potential inconsistencies are addressed.

Attorneys can also leverage expert testimony to bolster your claim. For instance, an accident reconstruction specialist can analyze the scene and provide a professional opinion on how the accident unfolded. Medical experts can translate complex medical records into clear explanations of your injuries and their long-term impact. This combined expertise paints a comprehensive picture for the insurance company or the court, significantly increasing your chances of receiving fair compensation.

Finally, attorneys understand the legal nuances of evidence admissibility. They'll ensure your evidence is collected and documented properly to meet court standards. This meticulous approach prevents the other party from challenging the validity of your evidence, safeguarding the foundation of your case.

Experienced Legal Counsel

At Zayas Law Firm, our attorneys have over 50 years of collective experience. We represent clients in a range of personal injury matters, including the following types of claims:

Complete our online contact form or call (860) 854-9156 to schedule a case consultation today.

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