When you suffer injuries or significant property damage in a car accident, you may expect that the party that caused the accident, or that party’s insurance company, will pay reasonable compensation for your damages. However, the insurance company may fight the claim to reduce the compensation it pays, including denying liability for the accident.
Whether you need to prove liability for your car accident or simply establish the full compensation you deserve, you need evidence. a car accident lawyer can guide you in this situation.
1. Video Footage
Any video footage of the car accident, like dash cam footage, can go a long way toward establishing liability. While dash cam footage can only show what occurs within the view of the camera, which means it cannot show things like a rear-end collision, it can provide a clearer picture of what happened leading up to the accident, including which vehicle ran a red light or stop sign or whether one driver ignored the rules of the road.
If you do not have dash cam footage, your lawyer may still access video footage of the accident by checking out security camera footage from local businesses or even traffic camera footage, which can show who caused the accident.
2. Witness Statements
Witnesses who saw your car accident may provide several potential insights into what contributed to your car accident. Witnesses often have a clearer view of the accident than either driver involved. They may offer insights into what obstacles the drivers encountered that increased the risk of the accident or any dangerous behaviors drivers engaged in. Furthermore, witnesses usually have no bias related to the accident or the individuals involved, so they can offer a clearer picture of the events that led to the accident.
However, witness memory can prove less clear than many people might hope. Witness memory can fade quickly, making it essential that you contact an attorney as soon after the accident as possible and capture witness statements before their memory fades.
3. Accident Scene Photos
The insurance company cannot go back to the scene of your accident to get a better idea of what contributed to that accident. However, the insurance company can look at photos of the accident scene, which can provide essential information about the vehicles’ positioning and the accident scene itself.
For example, photos of the accident scene might show:
- The position of the vehicles on the road, which can prove beneficial in determining which vehicle hit the other
- The damage to the two vehicles
- Features of the area, like high hedges or blocking signs, that contributed to the accident or decreased visibility, making it difficult for drivers to maneuver safely through the area.
Photos of the accident can also show the vehicles involved in the accident: for example, if the liable driver tries to claim that he did not travel anywhere near that location on the date of the accident.
4. Expert Evaluation of Vehicle Damage
During some accident claims, the injured party may not have adequate evidence from the accident scene. If you suffered severe injuries, for example, you may have left the accident scene in an ambulance, unable to take any photos. An expert evaluation of the damage to the two vehicles involved in the accident and a look at the accident scene itself can help experts recreate the accident and provide insights into who bears liability for the incident.
Your lawyer likely has experts on call who can help with accident recreation based on vehicle damage. Thoroughly documenting that damage and putting off repairs until the end of the investigation can make it easier for those experts to recreate the accident scene.
5. Police Reports
After any type of accident involving property damage or injury, the victims must report the accident to the local police. The police will evaluate the evidence available at the scene of the accident, including taking witness statements, to get a better idea of what likely led to the accident.
A police report can prove an essential part of many accident claims. The police report lays out the accident’s time, date, and location and the parties involved in a clear way that makes it easier to establish grounds for a car accident claim. Without a police report, it can prove much more difficult for the injured individual to establish that the accident occurred and caused the injuries.
6. Criminal Charges or Citations
Car accidents can occur for any number of reasons, many of them illegal. For example, a drunk driving conviction can cause the liable driver to lose their license. Texting and driving or otherwise engaging in distracted driving behavior can cause considerable consequences.
There may not always be a criminal charge related to a car accident. Sometimes, even if the officer that responds to the accident knows that the driver engaged in potentially dangerous or reckless behavior, the officer may choose not to issue a citation. However, if the state filed criminal charges or a citation related to dangerous driving, it can serve as evidence to establish liability for your car accident.
7. Medical Records
As part of your car accident injury claim, you may need to provide your medical records to the insurance company or present them in court to seek the full compensation you deserve for those damages.
Your medical records cover important issues related to your injury claim.
- When your injury occurred. Your medical records will show that you sought medical attention for symptoms related to your injuries immediately after your accident. These records can help prevent the insurance company from trying to prove that you suffered your injuries at another date or time.
- What injuries you sustained. A car accident can cause injuries that range from bruises and abrasions to brain injury, spinal cord injury, or internal bleeding. As part of your claim, you may need to lay out the injuries diagnosed as part of your medical care.
- The limitations you experience from your injuries. Your medical records can help show how much medical care you needed for specific injuries and how long you needed treatment. In addition, your doctor may note how your injuries limited you, specifically compared to others who may have suffered similar injuries.
- The setbacks and complications you sustained in recovery. In many cases, patients who suffered the same injuries can have very different roads to recovery, often despite taking the same precautions or engaging in the same activities. Your medical records can help lay out what losses you dealt with because of your accident.
- Your expected prognosis. Sometimes, you may submit an injury claim before you fully recover after a car accident. Your medical records can show your anticipated recovery, including what long-term limitations you will likely have because of your accident and your future medical needs.
Your medical records can provide considerable insight into the suffering and losses you dealt with because of your accident and injuries.
9. Your Medical Bills
The cost of medical care for your accident and injuries can depend on a number of factors, including what procedures you needed, how long you spent in recovery, and even what type of care you needed. Furthermore, your bills may depend on the provider that took care of those services. Many car accident victims find that even in states with PIP insurance that covers the initial cost of medical treatment, treatment for car accident injuries adds up faster than anticipated.
In some cases, you may need to provide a direct account of what medical bills you paid after your accident, including evidence of PIP coverage used, personal medical insurance coverage used, and what you paid. You may also need to include the cost of co-pays and deductibles, which you paid at the time of the service.
Who Can Collect the Evidence I Need for My Car Accident Claim?
The right evidence can make a big difference in your car accident claim. Many people, however, struggle to gather this evidence on their own. Fortunately, a car accident lawyer can collect essential evidence and provide it to the insurance company after your accident.
1. Contact a Lawyer as Soon as Possible
Many people wait too long to call a lawyer after a car accident. You may start thinking that you have clear proof of liability and can handle the claim on your own, or you may simply have other priorities in mind as you wait to resolve your claim. However, you should contact a car accident lawyer as soon after your accident as possible. The longer you wait to contact an attorney, the harder it can prove to access vital evidence.
An attorney can often make the evidence collection process much easier. An attorney can record witness statements in a timely manner, access security footage before it gets deleted, and even bring in expert witnesses to consult on the damage to your vehicle or your medical needs, all of which can create the testimony to help make your claim.
2. Take Photos
Taking photos throughout your recovery can help you clearly establish the injuries you sustained and the limitations that went along with them. In addition to photos of your injuries, you may want to include photos of the damage to your vehicle.
3. Document Your Challenges
Keep a journal that lays out your challenges and losses during the recovery period. A journal can help provide you with a record of when things happened and remind you of things that you may forget as your recovery progresses.
4. Keep Track of Your Medical Bills
Do not simply assume that you can calculate all your medical bills or estimate them when you file your claim. Medical bills can grow complicated, especially if you end up with multiple bills for the same procedure. Keep track of all your bills in one place so you can put together your full claim more easily.
Contact a Car Accident Lawyer for Help With Evidence Collection
If you suffered injuries in a car accident or find yourself struggling to prove liability for an accident involving property damage, a lawyer can help you collect the evidence you need. Contact a personal injury attorney in New York as soon after the accident as possible to start your claim.