Evidence is key in a car accident claim because it shows what happened, who was at fault, and what will likely occur in the future as a result. Insurance adjusters, judges, and juries aren’t first-hand witnesses to these accidents, so they rely on the available evidence to form their opinions.
As such, the outcome of your case depends on having a trusted Hammond car accident lawyer who can gather and review as much of this evidence as possible.
Common Types of Useful Evidence in Car Accident Cases
The evidence your lawyer gathers and presents can significantly influence the outcome of the case they build on your behalf. Various evidence – such as accident scene photos, video footage, eyewitness statements, and vehicle damage reports – each helps paint a picture of the incident and its effects.A skilled lawyer can effectively leverage these diverse pieces of evidence to bolster their case and demand fair compensation for your losses.
Accident Scene Photos
Accident scene photos provide clear visual evidence of the accident site. They can show the positions of vehicles, road conditions, traffic signs, and any debris or skid marks from the accident. These photos help investigators understand how the collision happened.
Lawyers, courts, and insurance companies use photos to assess damage and liability. For example, photos showing a lack of skid marks behind a vehicle could suggest that its driver never applied the brakes and could be at fault for the subsequent collision. They also allow experts to reconstruct the accident during legal proceedings.
Clear, time-stamped photos can strongly support your claim by providing proof of the scene’s condition right after the accident.
Video footage taken by dashcams, surveillance cameras, or bystanders offers real-time evidence of the accident occurring. This footage can capture the accident’s sequence of events, the behavior of each driver, and the ambient road conditions. It shows exactly what happened without relying on people’s memory, which is often unreliable and easy to sway.
For instance, video footage could prove whether a driver ran a red light or was speeding before the collision. This footage is often a decisive factor in determining fault in court or insurance claims. Video evidence can also disprove false claims from the other party involved in the accident.
Eyewitness statements from people who saw the accident provide independent accounts of the event. These statements can confirm details about the accident, like the direction each vehicle was traveling, their relative speeds, and the drivers’ actions.
Eyewitnesses can also provide information that doesn’t appear in photos or videos, like weather conditions or other drivers’ behavior before the crash. Their testimonies can support or challenge the claims of the drivers in the accident. In legal cases, a credible eyewitness can strongly influence the outcome by providing a third-party perspective of the accident.
Medical Records and Bills
Medical records and bills are essential for proving the extent and nature of injuries from a car accident. These documents provide detailed information about injuries, treatments, and medical expenses. They are key in proving that a person’s injuries directly relate to the accident.
For example, medical records can show if injuries require immediate treatment after the accident, linking them directly to the event. This evidence is essential for claiming compensation, as it allows attorneys to calculate fair compensation for medical costs, pain, suffering, and more.
Expert Witness Testimony
Expert witness testimony in a car accident claim comes from professionals like accident reconstruction experts or medical doctors. These experts use their specialized knowledge to explain complex issues, particularly to jury members who might not understand them otherwise.
For example, an accident reconstruction expert can analyze the crash details and explain what caused the collision. A medical expert can detail how certain injuries result from the accident and what their prognosis is likely to be.
This testimony allows judges and juries to understand the technical aspects of the case. Expert witnesses’ opinions carry significant weight because they rely on years of experience and knowledge. Their insights are often critical in proving fault and the extent of injuries in a car accident claim.
Vehicle Damage Reports
Vehicle damage reports detail the extent and location of any damage to the vehicles that collided. The information they contain offers clues about how the accident happened and describes the severity of the impact. For instance, damage to a car’s trunk would suggest that another vehicle struck it from behind. Insurers and courts use these reports to understand the accident’s dynamics, determine who is at fault, and assess the cost of repairs.
Cell Phone Records
Cell phone records are key evidence in some car accident claims. They can show if a driver was using their phone at the time of the accident. Phone use while driving is dangerous, and it is also illegal in many areas.
Records that show that a driver was texting, calling, or browsing at the time of the crash could prove that driver’s negligence. This evidence is sometimes decisive in establishing fault. Even if the activity was not illegal, it could demonstrate a lack of attention to the road, which is a major cause of accidents.
GPS data from vehicles, smartphones, or standalone navigation devices can provide critical information about a vehicle’s exact location, speed, and direction before and during the accident. It allows investigators to establish each driver’s route and behavior leading up to the collision.
For instance, if GPS data shows a car was speeding or took an unexpected route, it could indicate that vehicle’s driver behaved negligently. This evidence is sometimes valuable in reconstructing the accident and proving or disproving the drivers’ statements. GPS data adds a layer of factual information that can influence the outcome of a claim.
Traffic citations that relate to the accident can provide strong evidence that someone broke a law, making them negligent per se for the crash. Citations are official police records of presumed violations of traffic laws by one or more of the drivers in an accident. For example, a citation issued to a driver for speeding could establish that their unlawful behavior contributed to the accident.
As such, a traffic citation could be a key factor in deciding liability in court. It serves as independent evidence of a driver’s negligence or violation of traffic laws, which allows judges and juries to determine responsibility for the collision.
Weather and Traffic Reports
Weather and traffic reports provide crucial context for a car accident claim. They show the ambient conditions at the time of the accident. For example, a weather report showing heavy rain or fog could indicate reduced visibility or slippery roads, factors that frequently contribute to accidents.
On the other hand, traffic reports can show congestion or other accidents that might have affected driving behavior. Lawyers and insurers use this information to understand the external factors influencing the accident, which is important for determining liability.
Road Condition Reports
Road condition reports are key to understanding the environment where the accident occurred. These reports detail issues like potholes, construction zones, or improper signage that could contribute to an accident. A report showing poor road conditions at the accident site could indicate these factors played a role.
Evidence from road conditions reports can shift some blame away from the drivers to the entity responsible for road maintenance. In legal cases, road condition reports establish if external factors aside from driver error led to the accident, affecting fault and compensation determinations.
Accident Reconstruction Reports
Accident reconstruction reports are diagrams from experts who analyze crash details to determine how and why an accident occurred. These reports use evidence like vehicle damage, skid marks, and witness statements to provide a scientific explanation of the accident.
For instance, these reports can show the presumed speed of each vehicle before the collision or the precise point of impact. This type of report is useful in court or insurance claims, especially when the fault is unclear. It provides a third-party analysis of the accident, which is useful in proving what happened and who is responsible.
Vehicle Maintenance Records
Vehicle maintenance records can affect a car accident claim by showing how frequently the owner arranged vehicle inspections, maintenance, or repairs. If a car had faulty brakes or worn tires that contributed to the accident, inconsistent maintenance records could indicate owner negligence.
These records are especially critical in cases where vehicle defects contributed to the accident. They can shift responsibility to a vehicle owner for not maintaining their car properly or to a manufacturer that put unsafe products in the market. Car accident lawyers can use maintenance records to argue that poor vehicle condition, rather than driver error, primarily caused an accident.
BAC and Toxicology Test Results
Blood alcohol content (BAC) and toxicology test results can show if a driver was under the influence of alcohol or drugs at the time of the accident, likely making them at fault. This type of evidence is highly valuable in establishing liability, as driving under the influence is illegal and dangerous under any circumstances.
It can also affect the amount of money available in an accident claim, as many jurisdictions allow for punitive damages in cases where an at-fault driver was drunk or drugged.
Employment and Income Records
Employment and income records are key to establishing the claimant’s earnings and work history. They allow investigators to calculate how much income the injured person lost while recovering from their crash injuries.
For example, let’s say work records show someone earned a steady and predictable income before the accident but couldn’t work for months afterward. In that case, these records make it easier to put a dollar figure on one aspect of what the accident cost the victim.
Social Media Posts
Social media posts can provide information about the drivers’ actions and statements before and after the accident. For instance, a post showing a driver at a bar before the accident could imply alcohol consumption and unlawful drunk driving. Alternatively, a post of someone who claimed to have suffered serious soft-tissue damage in an accident taking part in a sporting event might undercut their story.
Lawyers and insurers often check social media for such evidence. Posts, photos, or comments could either support or contradict the claims of those who were in the accident.
In some cases, opposing insurance adjusters or attorneys might even take social media content out of context to spin the evidence in their favor. Having a lawyer who can push back on these tactics can make or break the claimant’s case.
This evidence can include everything from vehicle parts to skid marks and glass shards to blood patterns. This evidence allows investigators to reconstruct the accident and determine how it happened. For example, the location of vehicle debris post-accident could indicate the point of impact. Physical evidence provides tangible proof and is often persuasive in car accident claims. Experts analyze this evidence to draw conclusions about speed, direction, and force, which attorneys use to establish fault and the accident’s circumstances.