You should always investigate the facts of the case right after they happened. Whether you are in a car accident, premise liability incident, slip and fall, or product defect case, you should investigate a few things at the very least.
Who was at fault?
Was it an individual? Are they identifiable? Is it an employee of a business? Is the business therefore responsible? Are you at fault at all? Once you have identified who is at fault for causing the accident, you need to record that information. You can do this by taking down names alongside taking photos and videos of who or what you believe caused the accident. This is usually pretty easy because cell phones make excellent tools for investigating personal injury cases.
The importance of gathering your own photographic evidence
Take photos of vehicles, dangerous conditions, defects in products/merchandise, etc. The possibilities are endless but a little bit of work right after the accident can go a long way in establishing fault for a case. There isn’t much you can do to change the facts of a case, but there is plenty that you can do to make sure that the facts don’t change later on to hurt your case.
Lost evidence is one of the biggest hurdles in the litigation process. Attorneys will go to great lengths to discover and uncover evidence. If an injured party does their part in collecting evidence from the start, the Plaintiff’s attorney’s job becomes much easier. They are able to use any evidence that you create in your favor. Conversely, you must assume that the Defendants are collecting evidence that favors their position, not yours. Therefore, it is a good idea to collect your own evidence.
Do not rely on anyone else involved in the accident
Don’t take another driver’s word that they will send you photos or videos that they took. Don’t mistake an employee for a business, making an incident report as an admission that they were wrong. On the contrary, businesses will generate incident reports that favor a finding that they were not responsible. Time and time again we see businesses intentionally destroy evidence that would be helpful to a plaintiff in a case. They do this with the worst intentions (not having to pay for your damages).
How an attorney can help
Luckily, there are tactics that keen attorneys can take to turn the tables on Defendant’s that willfully destroy important evidence that favors the Plaintiff. Motions for spoliation are the litigation tools used by litigants to support a finding that a party destroyed evidence for an improper purpose. The punishment to the offending litigants is that the party seeking the evidence is able to tell the jury that they destroyed the evidence for an improper purpose and the jury is therefore instructed by the judge to make an adverse inference that the evidence was destroyed because it favored the non-offending party.
For instance, some video footage could show that the Defendant caused the accident. This is a great way to establish liability in difficult cases. It can change the value of a case from low to high depending on the circumstances. Successful attempts to secure a motion for spoliation can change the outcome of a case entirely.
Contact our law office for more information
If you are injured as a result of negligence, you need to immediately contact one of our experienced personal injury attorneys so they can ensure that you investigated your claim to its full potential.