Car accidents are a serious health and financial problem in the United States. In 2019, 39,107 people lost their lives in motor vehicle accidents. Car accident injuries receiving medical attention added up to 4.5 million in the same year. Overall, car accident injury costs were estimated to be $463 billion. These expenses include medical bills, wage and productivity losses, employer costs, administrative fees, and motor-vehicle property damage.
Injured parties or their families deserve compensation for their losses. However, to obtain fair compensation, their case must be built on evidence. The party bringing the car accident claim must prove that the at-fault party caused their accident and that they have damages as a result. An experienced car accident attorney can help you collect the evidence you need to prove your claim.
What is Evidence in a Car Accident Claim?
Relevant evidence in a car accident case can take many different forms. Generally, valuable evidence in these cases can include:
- Pictures of the vehicles involved in the accident
- Pictures of the accident scene
- Pictures of your injuries
- Clothes you were wearing at the time of the accident
- Cell phone records
- Surveillance camera footage
- Driving records
- Medical records
- Medical bills
- Witness statements
- Police reports
What Can You Do to Collect Evidence?
The best time to collect evidence is as soon as possible after your accident. However, you never want to forgo or delay medical treatment to do so. If injuries prevent you from immediately gathering evidence of your accident, return to the scene as soon as practically possible.
If you are physically able to after an accident, get out your cell phone and take pictures or videos of:
- All involved vehicles and their relative positions
- Close-ups of damages to all the vehicles
- The accident scene, including traffic signs and signals, trees, or anything else that could have contributed to the accident
- Debris on the road from the accident, such as broken glass or car parts
If there are individuals at the scene who were not involved in the accident but witnessed it, try to get their names and contact information. Your attorney can contact them later to get their testimony.
The clothes you were wearing at the time of the accident can also be used as evidence. If they are torn or bloodied, place them in a sealed bag and put them in a safe place.
Preserving Evidence Not in Your Possession
Unfortunately, the evidence you need to prove your claim is not always in your possession. Evidence could be in the possession of the:
- Driver who caused the accident
- Driver’s estate, if the driver died
- Driver’s employer, if it was a company vehicle
- Insurance company
Even though this evidence is not in your possession or control, your attorney can take steps to help preserve it. They can send what is known as a “spoliation letter” to the parties that have the evidence. The letter puts them on notice that there is a pending claim, and they should preserve evidence in their possession without altering it.
Many companies use the excuse that evidence was destroyed in the ordinary course of business. However, if they receive a spoliation letter shortly after the accident, it decreases the validity of this excuse.
An Experienced Attorney Can Help
Collecting and preserving evidence in an auto accident claim can be time-consuming and burdensome. When you hire an experienced attorney, they will know what evidence to collect and how to best collect it to benefit your claim. Please know that Otorowski Morrow & Golden, PLLC provides free consultations to all our potential clients. The attorneys at our law firm have over 120 years of combined experience representing injured parties. They are tireless in their efforts and passionate in their representation. Do yourself a favor and contact them now for the quality legal assistance you deserve.