What Evidence is Used in Car Accident Cases?
Driving is a normal part of our day-to-day lives. Many drivers go years on end without getting into a car accident. This can lure people into a false sense of security when, in fact, there are an estimated 6 million car accidents in the US alone every single year. When a car accident does occur, it can be a traumatic and life-altering event. Filing a claim is an important part of seeking financial justice but when you’re not sure what to expect from car accident cases, it can seem like a daunting task.
Working with an experienced car accident attorney will make a huge positive impact on the outcome of your case. Arming yourself with knowledge can bring on the peace of mind you need to pursue a car accident claim.
Let’s talk about the types of evidence you’ll need to provide in a car accident case and why.
Why Is Evidence Crucial to Your Car Accident Case?
In any legal case, the plaintiff (and the plaintiff’s representation) are tasked with the burden of proof. This means that they must provide evidence to support their claims which, in car accident cases, begins with providing proof that the accident was caused by the defendant.
In a criminal case, the burden of proof requires that the evidence proves the defendant’s guilt beyond a reasonable doubt. This is not the same standard used in a civil case, which requires proving the facts by a preponderance of the evidence. This means that the evidence you provide must demonstrate that there is above a 50% chance that your claim is true.
However, that doesn’t mean that establishing fault and other required elements is easy. In order to file a successful car accident claim, you must be able to establish that:
- The car accident was caused by the defendant’s negligent behavior
- The car accident left you with serious injuries and/or disabilities
- The injuries you sustained led to a notable loss of income
This means that you will need to provide evidence of all three of these factors. Let’s take a closer look at the types of evidence used for each factor.
Evidence of the Car Accident
There are a variety of ways to establish the facts of a car accident. The goal is to demonstrate not only when and where the accident occurred but also how it occurred, which is to say what the other driver did or did not do that caused the accident.
The police report, which should include driver statements, is only one of several pieces of evidence that you will want to provide. It is useful to take video and photo evidence of the accident, capturing relevant details like nearby street signs or traffic lights and stop signs and the damage done to your car.
It is also useful to provide witness testimony from third parties. This includes any witness statements that you and your lawyer can gather. It can also include expert witness statements from accident reconstruction specialists who can demonstrate how the accident took place.
It’s worth noting that many at-fault drivers admit that they are at fault at the scene of the accident but change the story later. This is why it is useful to ensure that any admissions of fault are included in the police report or that you capture it in a video recording if possible.
Evidence of Your Injuries
After getting into a car accident, it is imperative that you seek medical attention even if you don’t notice injuries right away. Many injuries go unnoticed in the immediate aftermath of an accident because your body goes into shock. Seeking medical attention both immediately and in the upcoming months is a key part of establishing evidence of your injuries.
You will need to provide all medical records pertaining to the accident. This includes intake forms, records created by doctors and specialists, and prescriptions. If your doctor believes that you will require long-term medical care due to the accident, make sure that they put this in writing.
If necessary, your medical providers may need to testify as expert witnesses. However, written records are often enough.
The better you can demonstrate the extent of your injuries, the more successful your claim will be. The vast majority of the money given in a car accident settlement relates to medical expenses and the burdens of living with injuries.
Evidence of Your Financial Burden
Finally, you must provide proof of the financial strain you are experiencing due to the car accident. The primary way to do so is to provide medical bills and estimates of future medical expenses. However, medical debt is not the only financial burden you can seek compensation for.
If you had to have any work done to your car, keep all receipts and records. The same goes if you had to purchase a new car or start paying for public transportation. If you’ve missed any work or otherwise lost income as a result of your injury, keep all paystubs that show this loss of income.
Other damages, such as psychological or emotional damage, aren’t as easy to quantify. An experienced lawyer will guide you through this process if it is relevant to your case.
Work With the Experts on Car Accident Cases
Although many of us drive every day, few of us have hands-on experience with car accident cases. If you’ve been injured in a car accident, it’s not abnormal that you don’t know what to expect next. Use this guide to keep track of the different records, bills, receipts, and more that you will need to satisfy the burden of proof.
If you need to file a car accident claim, make sure that you’re working with the best. The Alpha Accident Lawyers have years of experience filing and winning personal injury claims. Contact us today to find out how we can help you.