Insurance companies insist on proof of liability and damages before they compensate your personal injury claim. If you’re filing a personal injury lawsuit, the requirements for evidence are even more stringent.
Knowing how to properly document and preserve the evidence that supports your personal injury claim will significantly reinforce your case and improve the likelihood of you recovering a full and fair compensation settlement. Call KJT Law Group today for help with your claim or lawsuit.
Documenting Evidence at the Scene of Your Injury
Personal injuries can occur in car accidents, at the workplace, with defective products—almost anywhere resulting in almost any type of injury. Capturing videos or images at the scene of the accident is important, as is picking up and preserving actual physical evidence. If your injuries or circumstances prevent you from gathering evidence at the time of the accident, return to the scene as soon as possible to capture a record of the evidence. For instance:
- Set your phone or camera to show the time and date, and take pictures and videos of faulty equipment that may have contributed to your being injured, such as a street light or table saw. Use multiple angles to demonstrate how the equipment was faulty.
- If you were in a car accident, take photos of the vehicles involved, showing the physical damage from all sides.
- Capture images of the surrounding area and any debris from the accident.
- If you can, take the accident-related physical debris with you.
- Write down everything you remember from the incident and indicate how each image, video, or piece of physical evidence relates to your injury.
Evidence preservation in personal injury cases is a key part of constructing a strong compensation claim.
Collecting Witness Statements for Your Personal Injury Claim
Physical evidence is important, but so are eyewitness statements. Ideally, you will note the name and contact information of witnesses while they are still in the vicinity of the incident. Before too many days pass and memories blur, you will want to video record their statements or have them produce a written and signed statement for your use.
If there are other victims, retrieving their statements will provide additional perspective and support for your claim.
Documenting Your Injury for Your Claim
Insurance claims can take weeks or months to resolve, and lawsuits take even longer. If you cannot prove that you were injured, there is no claim. Documenting your injuries becomes evidence for your case.
Before a medical professional sees you, take timestamped pictures of your injuries and then continue to record your injuries visually throughout the treatment and recovery process.
Collect copies of your medical records for your personal injury claim, beginning with records created by paramedics or other on-site personnel at the time of the accident and following through with every healthcare visit or consultation until you reach your maximum medical improvement. Maintain daily personal notes about your health status from the time you are injured until your claim is settled.
Preservation of Evidence for Your Personal Injury Case
The goal in preserving evidence is to capture it as is, not allowing it to change or go missing. In legal parlance, we preserve evidence to avoid spoliation, which is the loss or destruction of evidence. In addition to the visual evidence, statements, and medical records you collect and preserve, you and your attorney, if you’re working with one, may need to recover information held by others. To do this, you may need to send a preservation of evidence letter.
This letter, sometimes called a spoliation letter, is sent to the individual or entity possessing the evidence you need to be preserved. In it, you state that litigation may be (or is) pending, you identify the evidence that should be preserved and the incident to which it is related, and you include any necessary instructions or information they may need to fulfill your request.
Evidence that you seek to have preserved could be electronic data such as emails, text messages, or documents. It may also be hard copies of maintenance logs or a vehicle involved in an accident. All evidence must be preserved for your personal injury claim. Knowing when to send a preservation of evidence letter matters, as the other party may be busy destroying evidence, later claiming they were not aware of potential litigation and the need to keep certain documents or items.
Getting Help for Your Personal Injury Claim
Our personal injury attorneys at KJT Law Group know that properly documenting and preserving evidence for your claim is a daunting task when you’re laid up from your injuries.
Call us at (818) 507-8525 for a free case evaluation. We are happy to explain how preservation of evidence applies to your case and help you pursue a compensation settlement.