Victims of motor vehicle accidents can take a number of steps to protect their rights and future. One of the most important things a victim can do is preserve evidence associated with the crash. This applies whether the accident was a single-vehicle crash, a pedestrian accident, a bicycle collision or a multi-vehicle accident involving a commercial truck.
A lawyer can use this evidence to help calculate the fair value of an accident claim or lawsuit. This evidence also supports a victim’s claim for damages.
Below are five types of evidence to collect, maintain and preserve following a motor vehicle accident:
1. Photos of the scene – Accident scene photos can reveal information about the road conditions and the vehicles involved. Photographs taken directly after the accident can show where the vehicles came to rest, which, in turn, can reveal clues about how and why the crash occurred. Accident victims or others at the scene can take photos on a cell phone or small, disposable camera kept in the car’s glove compartment.
2. Police reports – Official police reports can provide information like witness contacts and statements and the officer’s conclusions about the cause of the accident (this may include road conditions, driver speed, traffic violations and so on). This is one of many reasons why accident victims always should call a police officer to the scene of an accident.
3. Vehicle debris – A wrecked vehicle may reveal clues about the direction from which it was struck and the speed of the oncoming vehicle(s). Other debris, such as shredded tires and brake lines may indicate a manufacturer defect. Secure all debris and wreckage until a personal injury lawyer has the opportunity to assess the evidence.
4. Witness contact information – Witnesses may provide valuable details about what happened just prior to and during the accident. They may provide details like whether one of the drivers was texting and driving, if any of the vehicles were speeding or ran a red light, and whether any of the drivers made an illegal left-hand turn. Accident victims or their lawyers can contact witnesses as soon as possible after the accident. The more time passes, the greater the risk a witness will forget the details of the event or become difficult to contact.
5. Medical and income records – Medical records help a lawyer calculate the extent of a victim’s damages. Income records demonstrate the impact of lost wages due to debilitating injuries. These records together allow a lawyer to determine a fair settlement for an accident victim’s injuries.
Accident victims should organize and secure all evidence until a personal injury lawyer has the opportunity to assess the information. A lawyer who is hired early enough in the process can handle some of the evidence collection and categorization.
Were you recently injured in a motor vehicle accident in Ontario? Insurance laws offer limited time in which to report your accident and file a claim. Contact the Preszler Law Firm to schedule a free case evaluation. Call 1-800-JUSTICE® or complete our online evaluation form.