Proving your case for damages in a car accident begins with collecting evidence to support who was at fault in the accident as well as what damages were involved. Evidence from the scene of the accident is only part of the equation; you must also keep diligent records to prove the accidents link to personal injury you suffered as well as the medical costs associated with your injuries. You may also need to produce proof of lost wages, if your injuries caused you to miss time away from work that resulted in missing income. You should keep records for the damage to your car and other property as well. These losses can be addressed with compensation as long as you can prove your case, and that all starts with collecting evidence to support your claim.
What Evidence can Prove Who was at Fault?
Evidence that implicates the other driver is essential when seeking damages from them or their insurance carrier. However, it is possible that someone else is at fault other than either driver. A neglected road, poor signage, a faulty car part, or some other issue could point to a third party as the one responsible for the accident.
Evidence such as photos of the scene, diagnostic documents from auto service shops, or statements from witnesses or experts can be used to support your contention of who was at fault in your accident.
What Evidence Should be Collected Immediately Following an Accident?
If the injuries that may have been suffered in the accident allow, you can start to gather evidence right away at the scene of the accident. Evidence that can be collected immediately following the accident includes the following:
- ID and contact information for the other driver. It is customary for drivers to exchange information whenever a car accident takes place. You should make note of the other driverâ€™s name, address, driverâ€™s license number, and auto insurance company and policy number. You should also note their license plate number as well as the color, make, and model of their vehicle. Do the same for every driver if more than one other vehicle was involved.
- Photo evidence. Photos can be invaluable to prove a car accident claim. Such physical evidence is hard to dispute. When taking these pictures, you should include shots of all vehicles involved from several different angles. Capture photos of the damage caused in the collision. Also, take pictures of any skid marks on the road, obscured signs, road surface issues, malfunctioning traffic signals, or any other circumstances that may have contributed to the accident.
- Witness contact information. Statements from people who saw what happened can offer strong confirmation to support your position as to who was at fault.
- Police report. Although this document is not technically available at the scene, you should make sure to call the police to the scene of the accident to write one up. A police report will serve as the official record of what happened, who was involved, and what damage resulted.
What Evidence Should be Collected to Prove Damages?
There are two different kinds of damages involved in car accident claims: property damage and personal injuries. Property damage entails damage to your car as well as anything of value inside the car.
Evidence to prove the damage to your vehicle is simple. You can have an insurance adjuster come out to estimate the damage, you can have an approved car repair shop service your car, or you may be able to provide receipts for work needed to fix your car. Covering these claims may require you to take pictures of the damage, which is always a good idea any way.
Likewise, loss of income is relatively simple. You can show your employment records such as your pay stubs or W-2 form to prove how much you make, and your employerâ€™s official records of the time you missed can be matched with medical records for further clarification.
Personal injury damages are usually more complex and often much more costly. Serious injuries may require thousands of dollarsâ€™ worth of treatment or more. You will have to prove not only that your injuries warrant the amount involved in your claim, but also that the injuries in question are undeniably a direct result of the accident for which you are seeking coverage.
To support your insurance claim for injury damages or when building a case for a personal injury lawsuit, you should keep diligent records of the medical treatment you received for your injuries. Ideally, your records will show that you obtained a medical evaluation and started treatment within a reasonable timeframe after your accident. Photos of the injuries can also help to establish proof of when the injury happened and its progression as well as its painful and damaging effects.
When attempting to show how much your claim is worth, you must be able to produce evidence that the costs of your treatments match the amount of compensation you are seeking.
What about Non-economic Damages?
Non-financial damages are compensation amounts that pay you for injuries that cannot be easily calculated. Some forms of non-economic damages include pain and suffering, loss of companionship, and emotional distress. These types of damages are more complicated because there is no receipt to show what these damages cost you. Even though these types of damages are not clear-cut when it comes to identifying appropriate compensation, the way these damages are addressed is through monetary compensation payments.
Medical records and photographic documentation are two good ways to track your non-economic damages, if they depict the severity of your injuries, but there are other ways to show the damaging effects that linger after a car accident. Keeping and sharing a journal of your struggles is one way to produce evidence; having a therapist as an expert witness to discuss your trauma may be another way.
What is the Burden of Proof Concerning Compensation?
The burden of proof is on the person seeking damages, which means that to receive compensation, you must make a compelling case to convince the court that your claim has merit, or to convince the insurance company that they should settle before the case goes to court.
When it comes to car accidents, a claimant is in a much better position to make a good case if they are armed with evidence that the other driver caused the accident and that they deserve compensation for provable damages.
Middletown Car Accident Lawyers at Mikita & Roccanova Obtain Justice for Clients Injured by Negligent Drivers
If you were seriously hurt or lost a loved one in a car accident, you should be able to collect compensation for your losses. The Middletown car accident lawyers at Mikita & Roccanova can help you identify the negligent party responsible for your accident. It may be the other driver, the manufacturer of a defective car part, or the party in charge of keeping road conditions safe. We will find out what caused your accident and help you seek appropriate damages. Call us at 732-705-3363 or contact us online today to schedule a free consultation. Located in Hazlet and Highland Park, New Jersey, we serve clients in Ocean County and Sussex County, and Pennsylvania.