Immediately following a car accident, it is best if you start gathering evidence in order to establish the validity of your claim. The more documentation you have in support of your claim, the more likely you are to receive a fair settlement for your injuries. It is important to note that not all evidence is applicable and depending on the circumstances of the accident, you may not be able to obtain all of the evidence you need. But, the more evidence you do collect, the easier it will be for your attorney to prove your claim in court or when negotiating with an insurance company.
Understanding the Burden of Proof
As the plaintiff, the burden of proof falls on you to prove that the defendant was acting negligently at the time of the accident. You must also prove that their negligence is what caused the accident and your injuries and then establish that your injuries resulted in damages. This is where a personal injury attorney can be extremely helpful. An attorney can help you gather the necessary evidence to establish the legitimacy of your claim, but can also sort through the evidence to find what will be most useful in court as well as in settlement negotiations.
While police reports are helpful, they are often not admissible in court. You will still want to contact the police and file a report because that report can be used during negotiations. If your case goes to trial, the report may be inadmissible – since police reports are often considered “hearsay” evidence and cannot be cross examined like an actual witness statement.
Witness and/or Driver Statements
If you are able to, collect the names of all witnesses, passengers and drivers involved. You will want their contact information so that you or your car accident attorney can contact them later to obtain their official statement. Their statements can help clarify who was actually at fault for the incident as well.
Photographs, Videos or Documentation
Any photographs or video surveillance from nearby companies can help paint a clearer picture about the accident and what occurred. Also, you may need certain documents to help prove negligence, such as cellphone records to prove that the other driver was talking or texting at the time of the accident.
Experts are often called in to testify as to the events of the accident and can even be used for accident reconstruction. They can also be medical experts that testify to your injuries and the legitimacy of your injury claim.
Medical Records and Payment Statements
In order to prove your losses and justify your settlement request, you will need to include medical records. These records will help show your medical expenses, the extent of your injuries and any payments you have made in regards to your injuries already.
Speak with a Tampa Car Accident Attorney
If you have been injured in a car accident, contact a Tampa car accident attorney at Hancock Injury Attorneys. We will aggressively protect your rights to compensation under Florida laws and help you locate the evidence needed to establish your claim. Call us at 813-534-6319 to schedule your free consultation or ask us a question online via our online contact form.