Getting into a car accident can have serious consequences. On top of your injury, you could be struggling with your insurance company, the insurance company of the other driver, and even consequences like losing your job or permanent disability. When you’ve been in a wreck, contacting a car accident lawyer in Jackson, Wyoming is generally the best course of action.
What Kind of Evidence Do You Need in a Car Accident Case?
It may surprise you to learn that you will need to collect evidence after a car accident. Even if you’re only dealing with the insurance company, evidence is an important part of securing a settlement that will cover your property damages and personal injuries. But what kind of evidence do you need? Depending on your accident and whether or not your claim is in court, some evidence you may need includes:
One of the primary pieces of evidence involved in your case will likely be the police report made immediately after the accident. When you’ve been in a car accident, your first action should be calling the police so they can take an accident report and you can start the documentation process of your claim. The police record will include your information, the information of the other driver involved in the accident, and a general fact-based assessment of the accident scene.
Police records may also be relevant if you need to prove liability in your case. If the police at the scene of the accident suspect situations such as driving while intoxicated or if there is evidence of broken traffic rules, then the police record will reflect this. Police records can also include previous red flags in the other driver’s driving records, such as a history of DUI or driving infractions.
Medical records are another important component, particularly if you are suing for personal injuries caused by the accident. Your medical records should start from the emergency room visit or the urgent care visit immediately after the accident. These first records will record your physical state and injuries following the accident, so they are generally considered fairly accurate. These records will also include any treatments or surgeries you needed for your injuries.
After your initial medical treatment, other medical documents may be relevant to your case. For example, if you require prescriptions, ongoing treatments, physical therapy, or even assistive devices, these records will be used to prove the extent and seriousness of your injuries. Your medical records can also include your medical bills dating from the injury to any current medical bills for ongoing treatment.
If your accident also caused temporary or permanent disability, then you should also include any physician records that talk about your injury and your disability award letter. These documents will attest to the negative impact of the accident on your quality of life or your ability to earn a living. Many times, you may also be able to have an IME (independent medical examination) that will also support the severity of your injury.
Video or Photographic
Both video and photographic evidence can be helpful for your case. Video footage of the accident, such as from a traffic CCTV, can give a real-time view of how the accident occurred and can even be used to prove which driver was liable for the accident. Photographic evidence can include pictures of the damages to your vehicle, damage to the road, and your injuries. Evidence that can be viewed through pictures and videos can be very compelling proof in determining liability.
You and the other driver should provide accounts of the accident, but there may be other witnesses who can give testimony. For example, other passengers in the car or bystanders on the street can provide testimony about the accident. Your family, friends, neighbors, and employers can provide testimony of how your injuries have impacted your life. Any medical professional who gave you treatment can also provide testimony.
Forensic evidence, such as recreating the accident, can be used to prove liability, as well. Forensic evidence takes a science-based approach to analyzing the accident and determining what caused the accident, including factors like speeding or vehicle malfunctions. Usually, forensic evidence is only necessary if your case progresses to court or trial.
There may be other evidence you can use to prove your case. For example, if you were fired after the accident because you couldn’t work, you can use the documents related to the loss of your job as evidence of the negative economic impact related to the accident. You may even want to include evidence about car repairs and costs to highlight the extent of your property damage.
Can Evidence Be Used Against You?
Yes, there is some evidence that can be used against you. After a car accident, everything you say to the police, your family, medical professionals, and the insurance company can be used as evidence against you. For example, if you refuse medical attention after the accident or you say “I’m fine” to the insurance company, these can be reasons your claim can be denied in the future.
You should also avoid apologizing after an accident since this can make it seem like you are responsible for the accident. In particular, you should avoid talking too much to the insurance company without a lawyer since the claims adjuster will likely be looking for reasons to refuse your claim.
How Can a Car Accident Lawyer In Jackson, Wyoming Help You?
In addition to helping you gather evidence that is relevant to your case, a car accident lawyer can also help you negotiate with the insurance company and represent you in court if your case goes to trial. Usually, a case will only go to trial if settlement offers can’t be negotiated, and at that point, your case may be up to a judge or jury to decide.
It’s ideal if your lawyer can first speak with the insurance company to get a fair settlement for your case. Your lawyer will use evidence related to your case to show the insurance company that you deserve a better offer for your damages. It’s a good idea to contact a lawyer immediately if you have been approached by an insurance company since it’s likely the first settlement offer will be much lower than what your case deserves.
When Do You Need a Lawyer?
Some people try to handle their car accident cases by themselves, but it can be tough to recover and deal with the insurance company at the same time. Usually, it’s in your best interest to contact a lawyer soon after your accident so you can have legal representation for your interests. The earlier you contact a lawyer, the more likely you will be able to receive a fair settlement offer.
Your car accident case will require different forms of evidence so you can receive a fair settlement. Evidence can include witness testimony, forensic evidence, and medical documentation of your injury that will prove your pain and suffering. Sometimes, evidence is also used to prove which driver is liable for the accident. For more information about the type of evidence you need for a car accident lawsuit, contact Ochs Law Firm in Jackson, Wyoming today.