Personal Injury Accidents: Preserve Evidence

Protect evidence in a personal injury accident and find witnesses who can help prove your claim to an insurance company.

The first few days following an accident are critical to finding and preserving evidence of what happened- and documenting your injuries. As soon as possible you should take the following steps.

Return to the Scene

If the accident occurred anywhere outside of your home you should return to the scene where the accident happened. Take some time to survey the area and look for any extenuating circumstances which may have contributed to causing the accident. You may find something that you overlooked while disoriented from the accident like a traffic light that isn’t working properly. Also, you may just get lucky and find someone there who saw the accident or has witnessed other similar accidents in the same spot.

Take photographs while you are there. Be sure to take pictures from many different angles including your viewpoint from where the accident happened. This will help keep your memory fresh about the events of the accident as well as document the scene. Furthermore, this will show the insurance company later how prepared you are to get the settlement you deserve. In the event of a vehicle accident make sure and photograph the site during the same time of day and day of the week as when your accident occurred.

Protect Physical Evidence

Who was at fault in an accident is sometimes easily proved by a piece of physical evidence. For example, a broken stair that caused a fall or a dent in a car showing where it was hit. Physical evidence can also prove the extent of damages in an accident; bloodied clothing can showcase physical injuries dramatically. If at all possible try and preserve the actual physical evidence as it was at the accident. If this is impossible, then at least save a picture of the object that can be used as proof to insurance companies later.

Taking Good Photographs

Below are some tips for preserving evidence with photographs

  • Regular photos are better than Polaroids. They usually show greater detail and more accurate light conditions
  • Take photos from a number of different angles. This will enable you to go through your collection later and pick the best one that highlights what you are trying to show.
  • Take the photos as soon as possible so they will most accurately detail the condition of the evidence after the accident.
  • To establish the date the photos were taken have a friend document that they watched you take the photos and write a note with the date. Also, getting the film developed immediately will provide you with a time and date from the receipt of your prints.

Locate Witnesses

A witness to an accident is a huge asset when making a case. Witnesses may be able to provide an alternate viewpoint of the accident which will validate your explanation. Also, they may be able to provide additional information which you weren’t aware of that proves the other person at fault. A witness can even be useful in confirming any pain or discomfort you were in as a result of the accident. A witness could possibly have even overheard a statement made by another person involved in the accident indicating that someone else was at fault.

Time is the most important factor when it comes to contacting witnesses. People’s attention spans are short and their memory fleeting. Make sure to contact and confirm information with any witnesses as soon as possible after an accident.

Document Your Injuries

The best way to preserve evidence of a physical injury is to promptly report them to a doctor and also by photographing any visible cuts, marks, bruises, casts, bandages, or other devices. Without early documentation of your injuries proving your claims later can be much more difficult. Injuries heal and look less serious than they were and waiting to receive treatment can lead an insurance company to believe that your injuries were less severe than you are claiming.

For more information on how to proceed after an accident contact us.

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