As a car crash victim who is pursuing a personal injury case, the best you can do is to collect car accident evidence that strongly supports your claim. Without substantial evidence, you risk losing out on compensation for your motor vehicle damage and the emotional suffering incurred during and after the crash.
At Legal Help in Colorado, we know firsthand how painful dealing with the aftermath of a car accident can be, especially when the fault lies on someone else. However, if you’re willing to follow our recommended strategies to collect car crash evidence, we know that justice will prevail for you and anyone else involved in the accident.
The Role of Evidence in Car Accident Cases
Car crash victims can share their verbal testimonies as part of a compelling personal injury case. However, these statements alone are not sufficient enough to win car accident cases in court. You need car crash evidence that demonstrates your lack of fault and speaks to the full extent of your injuries.
Evidence plays a crucial role in the legal realm, as it states the facts of the case and gives the judge and jury a crystal clear picture of what happened during the car accident.
In most car accident cases, the car crash evidence is used to determine who was responsible for causing the accident. Photographs of the accident scene, eyewitness statements from bystanders during the car crash, traffic camera footage, and other evidence collection can help break down what happened, even if the plaintiff and defendant have conflicting stories.
Evidence is also essential in proving the extent of damages suffered by the parties involved. Although vehicle damage is often obvious, medical records, documentation of lost wages, and other paperwork can help establish what amount of money a car crash victim should receive from the at-fault driver or other related parties.
Without proper evidence, many car accident cases don’t resolve in a way that is most favorable to the victim.
Types of Evidence Used in Car Accident Cases
There are many types of car accident evidence that can be collected and used in a personal injury claim. These evidence collection forms can include physical evidence, documents and records, and personal testimonies.
Physical evidence is any type of direct evidence from the accident scene that can be collected and used in a personal injury case. Physical evidence holds more power than other car accident evidence because it is concrete, objective, and easy to interpret.
Physical evidence collection can take many forms and includes all the tangible elements involved in the scene. Some forms of car accident evidence can include:
- Vehicle damage, including damage patterns and the exact impact locations
- Skid marks, tire tracks, or other visible remnants of the crash on the road
- Photo or video footage from traffic cameras
- Damaged property, including trees, signs, and posts
Witness testimony is another powerful type of car accident case evidence that can tip the scale in court. A witness is anyone present during the crash and has heard or seen it happening. Having a credible witness with no personal connection to either party involved in the car crash is extremely powerful. It acts as sufficient evidence that favors your claim.
Once you leave your car after the accident, talk to any witnesses you spot at the scene. Ask for their names, contact information, and addresses so that you can get in touch with them if needed. If you cannot do this alone, ask a passenger or other family member to do so.
Insurance companies and defendants will do everything possible to downplay your injuries after a car accident or blame them on pre-existing conditions. However, medical records provide strong car accident evidence that no one can deny.
Your medical treatment, along with its financial costs, are all documented when you seek treatment. This information is valuable and can be a powerful weapon supporting your personal injury claim, so you should request a copy of all records during evidence collection.
Regardless of how minor a car accident seems when it happens, you should always inform the police about the crash. This provides another layer of objective car crash evidence you can use in any future claims.
When an officer arrives at the accident site, he or she will document everything they see. Everything the police officer records goes into a police report that anyone can request access to. Typically, police reports include the date and time of the accident, the location where the car accident occurred, and all details about the people and vehicles involved. In some cases, police reports will even include statements from both drivers, any passengers, and witnesses present at the scene of the car accident.
For evidence collection purposes, you can ask the responding officer for the incident number before you leave the scene of the car accident. This number is what you’ll need to later obtain a copy of the police report when you start collecting evidence.
Gathering Evidence at the Scene of the Accident
In the aftermath of a car crash, most of us remain in a state of shock. However, if you can remember to do so, collecting evidence before you leave the scene can help you build a strong case and establish liability. Most of the most important physical evidence will disappear as soon as the scene is cleared, so the only way to preserve these critical components of the accident is to document them immediately.
1. Take Photos of the Accident Scene
Photos of the scene show what happened and give a jury a deeper perspective and insight into your injuries. Try taking date-stamped pictures using your phone or a camera to help them understand how the crash happened.
The photographic car crash evidence should include any damage to your car, the condition of the other vehicles involved in the car accident, vehicle license plate numbers, and vehicle debris. Additionally, you should take photos of the crash site from different angles, document the road conditions and traffic signs, and snap pics of any skid marks or other signs of what happened during the crash. You can even take pictures of your injuries to show that they occurred at the scene.
2. Talk to Witnesses
Right after the incident, try talking to witnesses if possible. If you spot any pedestrians, cyclists, other drivers who are not involved in the crash, ask them if they’d mind sharing what they saw. You can record their statements (after you ask for their consent) or simply collect their contact information to call them at a later time. These eyewitness statements can serve as powerful car accident evidence if you go to court.
Check for Video Footage
Video footage is another powerful piece of evidence valuable when filing for insurance claims. In the wake of the accident, try to find any video footage available on the crash site. This can include a dash cam (if you have one), video recordings from traffic cameras, or footage any bystanders happened to record on their smartphones. Having video evidence in hand is persuasive as it could be used to explain the circumstances of the incident and who was at fault.
Collecting Evidence of Damages
So far, we’ve discussed how to collect and compile car accident case evidence to prove someone else was at fault for the car accident. Once it’s done, the next step is to prove damage to maintain the viability of your claim.
Special or economic damages are tangible losses that can’t be calculated in monetary terms (dollars).
Some damages that fall under this category include:
- Medical expenses
- Medical records
- Lost income and opportunities
- Vehicle damage
- Repair bills
General or non-economic damages are intangible losses that are not easily quantifiable in dollars.
They can include:
- Emotional distress
- Pain and suffering
- Loss of companionship (wrongful death cases)
- Loss of enjoyment
- Lower quality of life
It’s hard to be compensated for non-economic damages because what number would be justifiable to put on your pain and suffering? The emotional turmoil is real, and the trauma a car accident causes disrupts life in many ways.
Usually, lawyers and adjusters employ the multiplier method to arrive at the approximate value for your general damages. In this method, your medical expenses are multiplied by a number (typically ranging between 1 to 5), considering the severity of your injury, the treatment you received, and the overall emotional impact it has on your life.
How Legal Help in Colorado Aids Your Evidence Collection Efforts
As an established personal injury law firm, Legal Help in Colorado is here to help you win your case. To do this, we bring our proven track record and years of experience to the table throughout the duration of your legal battle.
We know that most personal injury cases come down to the evidence, and we’re willing to relentlessly pursue all leads to ensure we have every single piece of evidence needed to back up your claim. This not only includes obtaining accident reports and eyewitness statements but also other critical pieces of evidence you may not have considered.
Depending on the specifics of your case, Legal Help in Colorado can help your evidence collection by:
- Employing accident reconstruction experts to recreate the accident scenario
- Consulting medical experts who can testify about the extent and impact of injuries
- Retrieving data from event data recorders (if the involved vehicles are new enough)
- Investigating unknown details, such as the driver in hit-and-run cases
You can read more about how Legal Help in Colorado approaches situations like yours by visiting our auto accident services page.