The Importance of Documenting Evidence in Personal Injury Cases

Insurance agent is filming damage to car. - personal injury evidence concept

If you were hurt due to the negligence of another, you may have incurred substantial medical bills, lost wages, and out-of-pocket costs. You may also have experienced a significant amount of pain and suffering. In such cases, it may be necessary to file a personal injury action to recover your economic and non-economic losses. However, in order to obtain the maximum compensation to which you’re entitled in a lawsuit, you must ensure that your case — and the personal injury evidence to support it — is properly documented.

What Role Does Evidence Play in a Personal Injury Case?

Adequate documentation and evidence can make all the difference in your personal injury case. It sets forth the facts and provides the evidence that is necessary to obtain the monetary recovery to which you’re entitled. In addition to substantiating your claim and proving your case, personal injury evidence can also give your attorney a better understanding of your injuries. It can help them to develop a strategy in your case and allow them to present a strong argument to the insurance company — or a judge and jury.

What Type of Evidence is Needed in a Personal Injury Case?

The foundation of every personal injury case are the medical records that show treatment for your accident-related injuries. However, there are also various other types of documentation that should be gathered after an injury has been sustained. In a personal injury matter, you will need evidence that establishes proof of both liability and damages.

Personal injury evidence can include the following:

  • Medical records — Your medical records provide a thorough illustration of the injuries you’ve sustained as a result of the accident at issue. Types of medical records can include hospital admission charts, doctor’s notes, surgical records, diagnostic images, treatment plans, and follow-up care records. This documentation helps to establish the severity of your injuries and how they impact your day-to-day life and livelihood.
  • Photographic and video evidence — Photos and video footage of the accident scene can help to tell the story of how the incident occurred and provide visible proof that can make it more challenging for the other party to dispute.
  • Witness statements — Statements from people who observed the accident as it happened can be crucial personal injury evidence. They may be able to confirm certain aspects regarding the accident, help to paint a picture of what happened, and establish that negligence was the reason your injury occurred.
  • Lost wages documentation — The economic impact of an accident can be significant and it’s vital to ensure you keep records of the time you spent out of work and the lost wages you’ve incurred. This can include pay stubs, invoices, W-2s or 1099s, and paperwork showing the bonuses, benefits, and other job perks to which you would have been entitled.
  • Documentation of out-of-pocket expenses — After an accident, you may incur various out-of-pocket expenses in connection with your injuries. It’s important to retain all receipts and records associated with these costs to help ensure they are accounted for in your claim for compensation.

In addition to the above, it’s essential to collect any other relevant evidence, including police reports, incident reports, or property damage assessments. In some cases, it may also be necessary to have an expert evaluate the evidence in the case and draft an accident reconstruction report. Depending on the type of accident, other personal injury evidence can include safety reports, inspection logs, and a personal narrative of the circumstances surrounding the accident.

Preserving Personal Injury Evidence

Whether it’s a car crash, bicycle accident, slip and fall, premises liability accident, or any other type of incident, personal injury evidence can get lost over time, deteriorate with the weather, or be destroyed by the at-fault party. For instance, skid marks in the road following a car accident can wear away and security camera footage may be deleted after a certain amount of time. A defective condition that caused a trip and fall, such as a broken tile or warped floorboard, could be repaired. This is why it’s imperative to preserve evidence as soon as possible.

The best time to start collecting evidence is at the scene of the accident — gather the names of any witnesses and take photos of the dangerous condition that led to your injuries. Additionally, be sure to seek medical attention promptly and follow through with your doctor’s orders. Without medical records showing that you received immediate treatment, your case will be more challenging to prove.

A skillful personal injury attorney will know the measures that must be taken to preserve, obtain, and collect the necessary evidence in your case. Critically, when there is a risk that evidence could be destroyed, damaged, or lost, an attorney can send an anti-spoliation letter to the other side that orders them to preserve any evidence which they hold in their possession. In the event the party destroyed evidence after receiving such a letter, they could be subject to sanctions under the law.

Contact an Experienced Washington Personal Injury Attorney

If you’ve been hurt in an accident caused by someone else’s negligence, carelessness, or recklessness, it’s important to have a personal injury attorney by your side. They can assist you with documenting your case and help you obtain the evidence you need to receive the maximum monetary compensation available by law. The Bellingham personal injury attorneys at Robinson & Kole provide capable counsel to accident victims throughout Washington State and work relentlessly to secure the monetary recovery to which they are entitled. We welcome you to contact us for a free consultation by calling 800.640.5616 or by using our online contact form. Se habla Español.

Categories: Personal Injury