Building your case to go and file for a compensation claim after an accident can be a bountiful task. The process is further compounded by the fact you need to maintain a level of thoroughness during a generally chaotic time. Most people end up skipping a lot of important details, especially on the evidence part. This leads to them presenting weak cases to their insurance adjusters and no one would want that to happen.
You want your compensation claim to give you a fair amount that takes into account all the factors that were at play in your accident case. The more paper trail you could have about how your accident happened and how you were affected will be better for your case.
This article will give you a basic checklist of the evidence you need to compile for your car accident case.
Taking pictures of the scene will help you with hard evidence to support your version of events. Accident reconstructionists will use the pictures you take to come up with theories of how the accident most likely happened. The position and degree of impact can make a huge difference on your case so you’ll need to record it so the other party won’t be able to refute it.
Don’t just take close-range pictures but also wide-range ones so you could capture the context. If you can turn on the time and date feature on your phone, then do that in case you want to show when the accident occurred. While at it, take pictures of any injuries you might have. Also, take pictures of the same images as they heal and include dates. Pictures and videos are a good foundation for an unshakeable accident compensation claim.
2. Police Report
Laws in most states require you to call the police before you leave the scene of the accident. This might be hectic given you’ll probably be mostly disoriented at the time but you’ll likely be thankful for this step.
Moreover, a police report is an official record and confirmation to your insurance company that the accident did happen. Otherwise, they might cast your claim in question. The officer who attended to you at the scene of the accident will also help you officially record the name of the other driver as well as the license plate of their car. All of this will help you in your case. You can learn more about how to access your accident report in this guide.
3. Medical Records
Another really important thing to keep as evidence is your medical records. Insurance companies are first and foremost out to make a profit. Some of it comes from doing due diligence on all claims as they ensure they’re paying for something that they should be. Of course, some insurers will even try to dodge paying the fees.
Your job is to prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that you had injuries and that those injuries were truly a result of the accident in question. Even if you took pictures at the scene, as soon as you get medical attention, ask that you be given copies of all medical procedures. These procedures could include X-rays, treatment plans, and surgery as well as how much it cost you. This means keeping all relevant receipts as well.
Anything you spend without proof is something that’s going to be hard to include in your claim. Thus, be aware and have this information ready to share immediately.
4. Witness Statements
Check if there’s anyone else besides you who can corroborate your story. If someone else was there when the crash happened, their testimony might help strengthen your case. In the absence of such a person, it could be necessary to hire an expert.
An expert witness will help reconstruct how the accident most likely happened using key evidence from the scene. Their testimony will be crucial in your case. Remember though, that when choosing your witnesses, it’s not just about the contents of their testimony, but also their overall believability or credibility.
A witness with a previous criminal record can potentially harm your case and so will one who keeps giving inconsistent statements. These instances might be used to prove they don’t have a clear recollection of events and therefore can’t be trusted.
Your expensive expert will probably be attacked during cross-examination, if your case does make it to trial, for what he or she stands to gain by making their claims. This isn’t to say you can’t hire expensive experts if they’re the best, but you should be ready for this line of questioning. Try also to make sure key witnesses don’t act too friendly to you as this might affect how fit they are to be a witness in your case. Prior friendship with a witness can harm their credibility.
To help you do this right here are some additional things to look for in a witness:
- Are they a reputable eyewitness or this can be questioned?
- If they’re an expert, are they truly qualified to give a testimony that can be believed?
- Do they look confident about their recollection?
- Are they maintaining consistency?
- Could they be deemed to have any interest in the cases’ outcome such as financial interest, or other reasons?
The list can go on but this gives you an idea of how to vet your witnesses so their credibility stands the test of questions.
In accident claims, much like in all compensation claims, the strength of your case has a direct proportion to the strength of the evidence you have. If you have photographs, try to pay particular attention to angles. If you’re hiring witnesses pay attention to what qualifies them as a witness and whether they add significant weight to your case. Make sure all your medical and general expenses records are thorough and without loopholes. Of course, all this is much more likely with the best lawyer you can lay your hands on. So, take your time with this part as well and do your research.