Perhaps a careless teenage driver rear-ended you at a stop light, because he had been distracted by Instagram on his phone. Or maybe an overworked, fatigued trucker side-swiped your vehicle on the freeway and caused serious injuries to you and fellow passengers. In either case, you want grounded, insider tips for how to win your potential car accident case.
Three Crucial Elements
Every case differs in the details, and different relevant laws can apply. However, in general, as a plaintiff, you’ll need to prove three basic points:
- The other driver engaged in carelessness, recklessness or another type of wrongdoing on the road. For instance, he or she failed to yield, violated a red light rule, texted while driving, et cetera.
- That negligence or carelessness caused an accident.
- The accident led to damages, such as an injury that needed surgery or physical therapy.
In general, the more evidence that you can assemble to support these three points, the stronger your case will be.
Types of Evidence That Can Support Your Case
The nature and relevance of any evidence will obviously depend on the details of the case. For instance, if a truck driver hit your vehicle, his hours of service log could be crucial. You could use it to show that he had been driving in violation of company or industry policy. However, if a passenger car hit you, obviously you cannot use (or even find) an hours of service log.
Here are some general sources of evidence:
- A police report written up after the accident. If you don’t already have a copy, be sure to obtain one ASAP.
- Evidence that you or a fellow passenger had to be treated for injuries at a hospital, doctor’s office, or rehabilitation clinic. Keep all records of conversations you have with physicians or rehab specialists and save relevant receipts for potential reimbursement.
- Witness testimony. For instance, perhaps a pedestrian saw the crash occur, or maybe another driver in a vehicle behind you witnessed the collision. In general, written testimony is stronger than oral. The faster the witness can document what he or she saw, the better. Human memory is notoriously porous; social science has documented literally dozens of ways in which our memories can warp over time.
- Pictures of any injuries as well as damage to the car. Use a cell phone camera or a disposable camera from your glove compartment to snap photos immediately after a crash. If you’re too injured or “out of it” to handle this task, deputize someone else – such as a family member or a fellow passenger – to do so for you.
- Evidence from an investigation. An investigator can also dig up information to help prove your case, including data from a commercial vehicle’s “black box,” maintenance records for vehicles involved, cell phone records that demonstrate driver distraction at the time of the crash, and information about the other driver’s criminal background.
- Forensic evidence. Experts can assemble evidence to show exactly how and why the crash occurred and validate your position.
If you or someone you love got hurt in a car or motorcycle accident in Florida, contact an experienced personal injury attorney for insight into how to maximize your chances to obtain compensation and justice.