PRESERVING EVIDENCE: Little Things Can Make a Big Difference

PRESERVING EVIDENCE: Little Things Can Make a Big Difference

Many people who have sustained an accidental injury lose thousands of dollars in damages, and many times, lose their entire case because there is insufficient evidence to support their claim.  In law, the burden of proving both “fault” and damages is on the person asserting the claim and one of the most common roadblocks we encounter in personal injury cases is that our client failed to gather photographic and other evidence at the scene that would help prove their case.  Most of the time this involves proving that someone else was negligent (at fault) for causing the injury.

In a world of smart phones however, photographing and videoing evidence has never been easier, and the simple act of preserving this evidence, taking photographs and getting the name of witnesses, can be the difference between winning and losing your case.  Of course, what steps you should take to preserve evidence will depend on the type of incident.  Here are a few simple suggestions to make sure that you adequately document the important facts.

Automobile Accidents:

1.  Call the police, regardless of how minor the property damage may appear.  That way there will be an accident report, or at least evidence that a collision occurred.
2.  Report any injuries to the police, no matter how minor.
3.  Take photographs and videos, from numerous angles, of the vehicles involved, the scene, the surrounding area, the intersection or area the accident occurred, and any skid marks.
4.  Get names and phone numbers of any and all witnesses.
5.  Write down any statements or admissions made by the other driver regarding how the collision occurred.

Slip/Trip and Falls:

1.  Take photographs of the condition of the area when the slip/trip occurred.  This is extremely important if there is ice or snow in the area as this evidence can disappear quickly.  Also make note of any lighting and/or whether any warnings were posted. 
2.  Report the accident to the property owner before you leave the scene.
3.  Request that security video, if any, be preserved.
4.  Get names and phone numbers of any and all witnesses.

Injuries Resulting from Defective Products:

1.  If you own the product, preserve the product, including all broken pieces.
2.  Save any receipts, packaging and/or instructions for the product.
3.  If someone else owns the product, request that they preserve the product.
4.  Take photographs of the product, including any product names, brands, makes, models, serial numbers, and names of manufacturers.
5.  Get names and phone number of any and all witnesses.

Taking these small steps can make a big difference in the success of your case.  Speaking with an experienced personal injury attorney as soon as possible after the incident is also important because there may be other steps that must be taken to preserve important evidence.  Call the attorneys at Nelson Personal Injury for a free consultation about your claim.