Based on the Canadian Transportation Safety Board, there are 160,000 car accidents each year, of which 2,800-2,900 result in deaths. With so many cars on the road, car accidents are the main cause of serious injuries to victims.
The majority of car accidents are usually caused by distracted driving, carelessness and driving under the influence. Due to the irresponsible acts of other parties, victims may qualify for compensation. The major factor in collecting compensation for car accident victims is based on the evidence which determines liability. That’s why preserving evidence the moment a car accident occurs is crucial.
Let’s take a closer look at the importance of immediate evidence, the types of evidence preservation, and tips on how to collect car accident evidence.
Importance of Immediate Evidence
Preserving evidence in real-time after the first impact can help accident victims prove their innocence and the injuries they experienced. Here are other factors that relate to the importance of immediate evidence:
- When describing the accident to lawyers and the court, it is useful to demonstrate the exact impact of an accident as it occurred.
- Documenting the first impact of the car accident is crucial in immediate evidence because the memory and emotions are fresh. When a few days have passed, the parties’ memories and statements may differ from each other.
- Immediate evidence collection, such as debris, is crucial as evidence can be altered or removed a day after the accident by road crews.
If victims of a car accident are unable to preserve evidence due to being hospitalized, their next of kin or family members should perform this role.
Types of Evidence You Should Preserve
There are specific types of evidence you should preserve to help accident victims build their case for presentation to a personal injury lawyer when they are seeking to prove liability and to receive compensation for the damages they sustained. Here are five of the most common types of evidence that should be preserved after a car accident occurs:
- Photographs of vehicles involved in the accident. Photographs are the most valuable piece of evidence as they show damages in real-time. Photographs of the involved vehicles should be taken from different angles. The first angle should be multiple overview photos of the car acc The second angle should be close-up photographs of all the damage caused to the car. Photographs should include any debris, broken glass, skid marks, guardrails, property damage to traffic lights and road signs and any other surrounding damage that may have contributed to the accident.
- Footage from any nearby video cameras. If the car accident occurred at a busy intersection with stores and restaurants nearby, they all have security cameras and could have captured the accident when it happened in real-time. Also, when car accidents happen in residential areas, victims can ask the police to canvass the neighbourhood for footage from home security cameras.
- Video or photographs taken by those on the scene. If any videos or photographs were taken by people at the scene of the accident, they should be collected for evidence.
- Contact information of witnesses. Individuals who took videos and photographs, along with bystanders who were at the scene of the car accident, are all considered witnesses and all their contact information should be taken as they may be contacted in the future to testify in court.
- Black box data from both vehicles. If the vehicles involved in the car accident have black boxes installed in them, the black box data should be included as evidence.
Tips For Preserving Evidence
Here are some tips to preserve evidence, win your case and get the compensation you deserve.
Informing the authorities
Always inform the police immediately after the car accident. If the car accident involves injured parties, they will respond by arriving at the scene and file a report. If the police didn’t arrive, you can file an online police report after the accident and get a copy of it immediately to include in your evidence.
Protect Physical Evidence
Physical evidence involves the damage to the victim’s car. Photographs of the damage to the car’s interior and exterior serve as physical evidence. The clothing that was worn on the day of the car accident should be preserved. Do not wash the clothing as this could remove blood, and do not have it altered if it was torn or ripped. Place all clothing items in large ziplock bags to preserve their condition at the time of the accident.
Obtain Witnesses’ Information
Witness testimony explains what happened at the scene of the accident. This is very helpful for proving the claim because it provides details of the accident to the victim’s personal injury lawyer, claims adjusters and insurance firm. Be sure to record witnesses’ contact information and reach out to them before they forget about the accident.
Journal Your Injuries
Part of preserving evidence is keeping track of your treatment and your progress. Any time you visit a doctor, keep a log book of your appointments and keep medical records of what injuries and symptoms you experienced at the time of the appointment. Keep all copies of medical bills and explanations of benefits. Recording all this information is helpful when putting your case together.
If you were involved in a car accident and believe that another driver is the cause of the car accident, you should seek legal assistance immediately after the accident. Regardless, if you have evidence that requires preservation or you think that other parties have evidence that is related to the case, you can present this to a lawyer who will ensure you get the compensation you deserve.
Seek Legal Counsel With a Car Accident Lawyer Today
The majority of car accidents usually require the involvement of law enforcement, lawyers and insurers. Whatever happens right after a car accident occurs, by gathering every shred of evidence, you build a strong case against the other party and ensure that you are treated fairly and given the appropriate compensation.