In states like Washington with comparative negligence laws, personal injury cases require evidence to prove fault and to address the tenets of legal liability. A diligent personal injury attorney in Seattle can collect and scrutinize the evidence in your case to identify the liable party and prove that their negligence, act of recklessness, or purposeful wrongdoing caused your injury. In some cases, the evidence is compelling enough for a fast, full settlement offer from the insurance provider of the party at fault. More infrequently, a personal injury case may end up in courtroom litigation where attorneys for both parties present evidence before a judge. When a plaintiff wins the case, the judge awards injury victim compensation for their damages and the insurance company must pay out the amount awarded.
Before you can recover compensation for damages related to your injuries, such as medical bills, lost income, and pain and suffering, it’s important to understand what constitutes evidence in personal injury cases.
One of the first documents a personal injury attorney examines in any injury case is a police report of the car accident or an incident report, such as one that a business owner may complete if you were injured on their premises. Depending on the completeness of the report, the information could clearly document the circumstances of your case. While injuries from car accidents and assaults will automatically generate a police report, if you are injured at a business, it’s important to ask the business owner or manager to fill out a dated, detailed incident report.
In today’s digital world with multiple surveillance options and cell phones in every person’s pocket, it’s relatively easy to find photo and video evidence in many personal injury cases. Digital footage from dashcams, traffic cameras, business surveillance cameras, and cell phone cameras can sometimes provide compelling evidence in a personal injury case.
If you’ve been injured but are still mobile, after calling 911, you can use your cell phone—or ask someone nearby to use your phone—to document the scene with photo and/or video evidence by snapping photos of the accident scene, any contributing factors, and your injuries.
In many personal injury cases, there are eyewitnesses to the accident or incident that caused the injury. Even if a nearby witness didn’t have the time or foresight to pull out a cell phone camera, eyewitness testimony to the circumstances of an accident can be quite compelling.
In some circumstances, there may be a lack of witnesses and photo or video evidence in a case. A resourceful accident attorney can call on expert witnesses such as accident reconstruction experts and medical experts to recreate the event and testify about the causes of your injury.
In a personal injury case, it’s important to keep all of your medical records and bills. After your accident, be sure to tell the doctor about every symptom, even if you believe it’s minor. Ask for a detailed medical report with the doctor’s treatment recommendations and your prognosis for the future. Then, follow all recommendations, attend every appointment, and fill every prescription.
Be sure to keep careful records of all medical bills or invoices. All of these documents are evidence of the extent of your injuries and the cost of treatment. Plus, many courts use the cost of medical bills as a measurement of the amount of pain and suffering you’ve endured and use it to estimate compensation for pain and suffering damages.
All of these forms of evidence are relevant and admissible in personal injury cases to prove liability and to provide key information about the damages the liable party must payout through their insurance provider.
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