When you file a personal injury claim, you bear the burden of proving that the other party caused your accident and owes you compensation. However, your case can’t just be based on your word. In other words, you can’t simply say that the at-fault party was responsible, which is why you are seeking financial recovery for a certain amount. You must back up your claims with evidence.
The type of evidence you present depends on your case. In most personal injury matters, evidence includes things such as medical bills and paystubs. However, different kinds of accidents will require specific pieces of evidence. For instance, you may need to present photos of vehicle damage if you’re filing a car accident claim or copies of lease agreements in a personal injury matter.
Why Is Evidence Important in a Personal Injury Case?
A personal injury claim or lawsuit provides the opportunity to recover damages arising from an accident. Damages are the various losses and expenses suffered and can be economic (those that have a dollar amount) and non-economic (those without a specific dollar amount).
Examples include, but are not limited to:
- Repair costs
- Current and future medical expenses
- Current and future lost wages
- Emotional distress
- Pain and suffering
Evidence is important because it gives a visual representation to the insurance company or court of the damages you suffered. It also supports your claim that the party you are bringing action against caused your accident and is responsible for compensating you. The strength of your arguments rests on the evidence you present.
What Types of Evidence Do You Produce?
The evidence you submit in your case will depend on the type of accident you were in, what you’re claiming damages for, and how the accident has affected you.
Most personal injury cases, regardless of the type, rely on the following types of evidence:
- Medical expenses: You’ll likely be seeking reimbursement for the care you received or will need because of your accident-related injuries. Evidence you may present includes bills for hospital stays, doctor visits, treatment, rehabilitative services, and medications.
- Lost wages: Your injuries might keep you out of work. You may provide a copy of your paystubs to show the income you are losing or will lose.
- Pain and suffering: If the accident caused mental harm, you could present a doctor’s report of your mental well-being and a personal journal documenting your experience and how it has affected your lifestyle and relationships.
- Cause of the accident: To prove that the other party’s negligence or recklessness led to your accident, you can submit evidence such as eyewitness testimony or photos/videos of the scene.
- Extent and duration of damages: You can have experts testify on your behalf to discuss how severe and lasting your injuries and other harm are. For instance, a financial analyst can speak to future lost wages, a medical professional can talk about your physical and mental injuries and the care needed to treat them, and an accident reconstructionist can explain the possible causes of the accident.
Various incidents can lead to personal injury claims. Each may require specific pieces of evidence in addition to those listed above.
For example, if you are seeking compensation for a:
- Car accident, you might present as evidence photos of the damage to your vehicle and other property as well as repair estimates. You might also produce a police report containing the responding officer’s observation of the scene and statements they took from you, the other driver, and witnesses.
- Product liability, you might produce the actual item that caused your accident/injury. You may also submit warnings (or lack thereof) and documents concerning the product’s design, manufacture, and testing.
- Premises liability, you could present lease agreements to demonstrate that the person you are filing a claim against was the owner or responsible party of the property.
- Medical malpractice, you could include with your claim records of conversations you had with all medical professionals.
How Do You Collect Evidence?
You can gather and preserve evidence in several ways. As soon as possible after your accident, you can take photos, videos, and notes of the scene. You may also ask witnesses for contact information. Additionally, you or your attorney can request reports and records from any party that would have details pertinent to your case.
Because evidence is so important, it is vital that you keep well-organized and accurate records of everything.
Schedule a Consultation with an Attorney
Building arguments for a personal injury matter is a very intricate process. You must ensure that you have the backing you need to make a clear and compelling case. A lawyer can assist with the process.
Discuss your matter with Bertram & Graf, L.L.C. by calling (888) 398-2277 or submitting an online contact form. We provide legal counsel in Kansas City and the surrounding areas.