Preserving Evidence in a Car Accident Case Can be Crucial for a Successful and Complete Recovery of a Personal Injury Claim
In a personal injury lawsuit following a car accident in New Jersey, the injured party bears the burden of proving that they sustained damages and detailing what those damages are. The amount of evidence you can gather will often directly affect the success of your claim. The more information you obtain at the scene and preserve thereafter, the stronger your claim will become.
In a personal injury or wrongful death motor vehicle accident case, a victim or their family can be entitled to economic damages such as medical benefits, income benefits, and repairs. In addition, the victim may be entitled to compensation for non-economic damages, or “pain and suffering.” Before a victim receives compensation for their traumatic injuries, he or she must prove that the defendant was a negligent driver. In the case of a car accident case, the defendant may be the driver or the manufacturer of the vehicle. Records kept by the defendant often can help prove negligence (i.e., cellphone/text records of distracted drivers, truck driver log records in suspected fatigue driving cases, or maintenance records if a vehicle had defective auto parts). The law allows the victim access to these records in many cases; however, the victim must take legal steps to preserve the records and ensure they are not destroyed before they can be reviewed.
By hiring an attorney experienced with preserving evidence, they can send a letter of spoliation to try to prevent the other party from tampering with or destroying evidence (i.e., requesting the other party’s vehicle not be repaired until your lawyer and their investigators have a chance to photograph and document the condition of the vehicle).
At Cohen & Riechelson our attorneys are admitted to practice in both Pennsylvania and New Jersey, and since 1972 we have helped numerous clients in gathering evidence and investigating accident cases and obtaining compensation for injuries sustained in automobile accidents throughout both states. Our experienced team of lawyers is dedicated to helping you obtain the compensation you need and deserve.
Contact us online or by telephone at (609) 528-2596 to arrange a consultation with an experienced personal injury & auto accident lawyer. You only have two years from the date of your accident to file a lawsuit. After the statute of limitations expires, you will no longer be able to sue to collect compensation for your injuries.
Your Cellphone is Key Tool to Preserving Evidence & Documenting the Scene
Smartphones are capable of taking high-quality pictures & videos to document your accident in mere seconds of the accident. After using your phone to call the police and while you wait for them to arrive, take steps to help preserve the evidence. Photograph your injuries, all vehicles or bikes involved, the scene of the accident, the road conditions, weather conditions, debris on the road, nearby traffic signals, any skid marks, and license plates. If the accident occurred at night, if possible, go back the next day and take pictures of the scene in daylight.
It would also be useful to photograph any damaged areas inside of your car, including the dashboard, broken seats, etc. If any personal items such as cell phones, eyeglasses, or laptop computers are damaged, also take photos of those items.
Witnesses: If you do not have a pen or something to write with, perhaps snap a picture of witnesses and their drivers’ IDs. In addition, ask bystanders if they took any pictures on their own, and if so, ask them to send you the photos.
If you have questions about other steps you need to take after being injured in a car accident, call an experienced personal injury attorney to help guide you through the process. They can be your advocate in dealing with insurance companies and can advise you on the most effective approach to getting the compensation you deserve.
The Ongoing Process to Preserve Evidence After Leaving an Accident Scene
After leaving the accident scene, the duty to collect evidence continues. You or your loved one should keep excellent records of all expenses incurred relating to the accident (i.e., auto shop bills, vehicle rentals, additional medical expenses, and more). Be sure to create a separate file to collect all medical records, bills, MRIs, X-rays, prescriptions, treatment, slings, crutches, wheelchairs, and other related paperwork.
Not only do you want records of all hospital visits immediately following the accident, but also you need records of each return visit for every injury, lost wages, and those aspects you believe contribute to either your pain of suffering and/or loss of your daily quality of life or work.
Written Diary or Video Journal
Keeping detailed records and a written, photographic, or video journal of the accident and its aftermath, can be one of the most useful things you can do. Recording how you feel the day of the accident and any later feelings and pictures taken at regular intervals of your healing process can show the progress of your injuries or the impact the accident has had on your daily life.
If you are shaken up after the accident, certain memories might surface in the days afterward, so write those memories down as well. As your injuries heal, keep notes on how you are feeling. Maintain a daily log in which you note what activities you could not do or had to modify, because of your injuries. Note what parts of your body are hurting and describe it. If it is the same issue daily, you can just write a note that you are feeling the same as the day before.
Although your legal counsel will need to be able to request additional medical records and details about your case should you pursue a lawsuit, having these documents on hand can make the filing your claim and investigation process easier.
Contact Our Mercer County NJ Motor Vehicle Accident Lawyers Today
If you or someone close to you has suffered a car accident injury, as the result of the reckless or negligent actions of another, at The Law Office of Cohen & Riechelson we are here to help you pursue compensation for your losses.