In all personal injury claims, the burden of proof lies with the injured party. This means that if you’re injured as a result of someone else’s negligence and hope to make a successful claim, it’s vital that you collect as much evidence as possible.
Collecting, preserving and arranging the facts in a coherent fashion can help ensure that you secure a fair settlement. Without persuasive proof that clearly shows negligence on the part of the other party, there is no basis for a claim.
Types of evidence
To give your personal injury claim the best possible chance of success, it’s crucial that you gather the facts immediately after the incident, or as soon as possible thereafter.
This may involve gathering different types of evidence:
- physical evidence
- witness statements
- photographic or video imagery
Physical evidence is any tangible or visible item, such as ripped or bloody clothing, a damaged tail light or licence plate, cracked pavement, or tyre tracks or skid marks. It may help to establish negligence on the part of the relevant party, as well as corroborating the extent of your injury(ies). You should store any tangible items in their original state. Visible evidence is best recorded digitally or on film.
Oral and written testimonies by any witnesses of the incident are valuable evidence. Witness statements should be recorded immediately after the event, either in writing or on an audio recording device. Remember to note the contact details of witnesses because they may have to be contacted to appear in court.
You should retain all documents relating to the incident. Hospital bills, medical reports, insurance statements, police reports and receipts of other expenses you incur as a result of the incident can help to establish liability and influence the monetary value of a settlement.
Photographs or video
Photographic or video evidence is often the most convincing proof of all, provided that it can be authenticated and is time and date stamped. If possible, visually record the accident scene and surrounding area, the cause of injury and any physical damages or injuries sustained at the time. This can help you to establish liability, as well as the nature and extent of your injury(ies).
Preserving the facts
Once you’ve accumulated as much information as possible, keep it in a safe place or hand it over to a personal injury attorney for safekeeping.
It’s vital that the evidence not be altered or tampered with. Arrange documents in order of date, and make copies to preserve the originals.
It’s also important that all evidence be kept confidential. For example, don’t post statements or photographs online; this could negatively affect the outcome of your claim.
Consult an expert
Gathering evidence is often a complex and time-consuming process and knowing how best to present it requires expertise. For these reasons, it’s recommended that you use the services of an experienced personal injury attorney who can advise you regarding your prospects of success and give you the greatest chance of a positive and optimal settlement.
How DSC Attorneys can help
At DSC Attorneys, we specialise in personal injury law. Our attorneys can assess your claim, help gather and prepare supporting evidence and represent you in legal proceedings, giving you the best chance of receiving the compensation you deserve. We also work on a “no win, no fee” basis.