How Can Evidence be Preserved After an Accident
There is often a lot of uncertainty after a personal injury occurs. Victims may have many questions: Will I ever fully recover? How will I pay my bills while I am out of work? Could the injury have been prevented? Is someone else at fault?
Accident victims may also have questions about what they can do to protect their potential claim for compensation, such as preserving evidence. While each situation is unique, there are steps many injury victims can take that may help strengthen their potential claim.
Below, learn more about preservation of evidence, including things attorneys can do. The Minneapolis personal injury lawyers at TSR Injury Law have decades of combined experience building robust cases on behalf of Minnesota injury victims. Learn more about our experience and results by contacting us to schedule a free consultation.
What You Can Do Right After an Accident
Your health and recovery are the top priorities after an accident. However, if it is safe to do so and you will not be making your injuries worse, take out your smartphone and take pictures at the scene. After you leave the scene, things may be altered or cleaned up, depriving you of the chance to document what things looked like in the moments after your injury occurred. You could easily forget how things looked days or even hours later.
Take as many pictures as you can. Take pictures of the hazard or dangerous condition that led to your injury (damaged road, missing handrail on a staircase, pothole in a parking lot, etc.), along with any vehicle property damage that resulted. The other vehicle may have damage that later gets denied, so gathering proof of the damage is easy and necessary.
If your injuries are visible, take pictures of them. If your clothes were damaged, take pictures of them and keep them as they may be used as evidence later.
Were there any witnesses? At a minimum, get their names and phone numbers to be contacted later. Even if the police say they will collect the information, if you are able get the information yourself. Sometimes the police reports do not document the names even when they are supposed to.
You can also record videos of your conversations with witnesses, if you ask them and they agree to be recorded.
Whenever possible, file an official police report. After a car crash, contact the police so they can file an official crash report. When another type of accident occurs, such as a boat or snowmobile crash, you may be able to file a different type of police/accident report. If you were injured on another’s property, such as in a retail store, ask the property owner or a manager or supervisor to complete an official accident report.
It can also be important to write down what you remember about the accident as soon after it happens. Try to answer general questions someone else might ask you about the accident:
- What were you doing before you got hurt?
- What caused you to become injured?
- What was the at-fault party doing?
Documenting Pain and Suffering and Your Treatment
In order to recover maximum compensation, you need to keep track of your medical expenses. Keeping them all together in one place could save the stress of having to look for things later.
While the progress of your treatment will be documented in your medical records, it could also be helpful for you to keep a journal where you discuss how treatment is going in your own words. You can talk about the pain you are experiencing on a daily basis and how your injuries have affected various aspects of your life.
Writing these things down on a regular basis helps show the severity of your injuries and could help your attorneys calculate your pain and suffering when it is time to negotiate a settlement.
What if the Other Side Destroys Evidence?
The at-fault party, the insurance company, or attorneys representing the other side may not want certain evidence to come to light. There have even been cases where the other side has taken steps to get rid of evidence.
However, the other side could be punished for this by the courts. As this is a complex issue, you should strongly consider meeting with a licensed attorney to discuss.
Schedule Your Free, No-Obligation Legal Consultation Today
It is never too soon to speak to an attorney about a crash. There is limited time to take legal action and an attorney can determine if you may have a valid claim while answering your questions.
Learn more about how we may be able to assist you by calling or completing a Free Case Evaluation form to schedule your free consultation. There is no obligation to take legal action if we find you have a case. There are also no upfront fees for our services.
Our phone lines are open 24/7: (612) TSR-TIME. A representative of our firm is ready to speak with you and set up a free meeting with a licensed attorney. TSR Injury law employs retired police to help investigate cases, so allow us to lock down documentation that can help you later.