Car accident injury lawsuits are civil disputes. That means the burden of proof is on the plaintiff, which is the person who filed the suit. However, that burden isn’t as heavy as it is in a criminal defense case.
You might have heard that the prosecution must convince a jury that someone is guilty “beyond a reasonable doubt” in a criminal case. In a civil case, the plaintiff has to demonstrate that the fault—and thus the liability—for injuries and damages related to an accident is with another party (or parties). Those are the defendants.
You only have to prove that this is more likely than not—you don’t have to prove it beyond a reasonable doubt. Working with a car accident attorney can help you build a solid body of evidence to support your claim. Keep reading to find out what type of evidence might support your case.
Police or Accident Reports
A copy of the police accident report form is an essential piece of evidence to gather if you are planning to make a claim or file a lawsuit related to a car crash.
This form is an official record of the accident that includes:
- The date and time of the incident
- The location of the accident
- The names and information of drivers and vehicles involved in the collision
- The law enforcement officer’s narrative of what appeared to have happened in the accident
This record can shed some light on how the accident occurred, who might be at fault, and what other factors were involved.
Pictures or Videos
Pictures and videos are important evidence because they are less subjective than your own account or even witness testimony. They can show the damage to your vehicle, injuries to your person, and the exact events of the accident as they occurred. Some types of picture or video evidence that might be used in a car accident lawsuit include:
- Pictures and videos taken at the crash site right after the accident, including those you are able to take with a cell phone
- Pictures taken by a lawyer or other professional at the crash site even after the crash is cleared away, as they can capture damage to the site, tire marks on the road, or the general layout of the area to make it easier to tell a story about the crash in court
- Pictures of injuries, including lacerations and bruises
- Video surveillance of the accident that might have been captured by traffic or security cameras in the area
Witness Statements or Testimony
Witnesses who saw the accident in question can provide third-party confirmation of what actually occurred. This can make it easier to make a case that another driver was at fault.
If you’re involved in an accident and are able to do so, get the names and numbers of anyone else at the scene who might have seen what happened. If you are injured and unable to do this at the time of the incident, the police report should list any witnesses the officer was able to speak to.
The plaintiff has to prove that they experienced personal injuries to seek appropriate compensation for medical issues related to the incident. One way to do this is through medical records that demonstrate the extent of your injuries. These can include, but aren’t limited to:
- Physician’s notes about your injuries and necessary treatments
- Imagining scans, such as x-rays or MRIs, along with reports explaining the results
- Letters from physicians or other medical providers summarizing your injuries and attributing them to the accident
Reports From Insurance Adjusters
You may also need to prove the extent of the damage to your vehicle. Documents from your insurance adjuster as well as quotes or estimates from body shops can help you do this. This type of evidence can also help you make a case for who was at fault in an accident.
For example, in the case of a rear-end collision claim, if your vehicle sustained extensive damage to the back and there was no damage elsewhere, this evidence may help you make a case that a driver hit you from behind because they weren’t paying attention on the roadway or were driving at an excessive speed and unable to stop in time.
Get Help From a Car Accident Injury Attorney
The above list is not comprehensive, though it does cover many common types of evidence gathered in a car accident case. An experienced car accident attorney has the skills, resources, and knowledge to gather this evidence and use it to make a case for your claim.
For example, your personal injury lawyer can subpoena witnesses and depose them, asking them questions about the accident they must answer truthfully under oath. They can also request and/or subpoena a variety of records and documents, including video surveillance and medical records, to make a case on your behalf. Many personal injury attorneys work with other professionals, including private investigators, photographers, and medical experts, to help make strong cases for car accident claims.
When your case is strong, you may not have to go to court to get the outcome you desire. If the evidence is compelling, the insurance companies and others involved may agree to settle the case. To find out more about how a car accident attorney can help you gather evidence and make a case for your claim, contact Jarrett & Price, trial attorneys, today.