How To Preserve Evidence For Your Personal Injury Case
If you become injured now or in the future in Texas because another person was negligent – at work, in traffic, or in any other scenario – you are entitled by law to full compensation for your medical costs, lost income, and related expenses.
However, to win that compensation, you’ll need the skills and expertise of an Edinburg personal injury attorney who can review your case, explain your options, negotiate for a fair settlement, and if necessary, advocate on your behalf in a personal injury trial.
However, if you are injured by negligence, even before you can speak to a personal injury attorney, you need to start thinking about evidence in case you do need to pursue a personal injury claim. The first few minutes after any type of accident are key.
You need to consider the physical evidence, the eyewitnesses, and any video or other type of recording that may have been made. You should take the following steps – or have someone take them for you – to find and preserve the evidence that can strengthen or even prove your personal injury claim.
WHAT SHOULD YOU DO IMMEDIATELY AFTER AN ACCIDENT?
Immediately after any accident, you need to take photographs, talk to eyewitnesses, and gather any available physical evidence.
After a traffic accident, you can’t take too many photos of the damage to the vehicles, your visible injuries, and the general accident scene. If you’re injured or otherwise incapacitated, have someone else take the photos for you.
Get the other driver’s contact and insurance information, and if it is at all possible, get the contact information of any eyewitnesses – names, addresses, telephone numbers, a work location or an email address – anything that will help your attorney to contact that person for testimony or a statement.
Photographs that can clearly show the immediate results of an accident and the testimony of complete strangers on your behalf can be decisive evidence in a personal injury case.
When an accident happens, try to think ahead.
You may or may not, in the end, have grounds for a personal injury claim – or you may simply choose in the end to take no legal action – but you need to think ahead and be prepared.
You need to take photos and gather the other pertinent information immediately if at all possible.
The best attorney in the world cannot go back in time to an accident scene and gather what could be critical evidence and information.
Traffic accidents are the most common accidents where one person’s negligence can result in another person’s personal injury, but any injury caused by someone else’s careless negligence may be grounds for a personal injury lawsuit.
In South Texas, anyone who is injured in a construction-related or work-related accident, by slipping and falling on private property, or anyone who has suffered a traumatic brain injury, burn injuries, or electrical injuries should discuss his or her legal rights and options with a skilled Edinburg personal injury attorney.
SHOULD YOU RETURN TO THE SCENE?
If you were injured away from your home, it’s also a good idea return to the location a few hours later – no later than the next day – to take a closer look.
You might find that there’s a street sign missing or a traffic light malfunctioning.
At a store or a restaurant, you might find torn carpeting that contributes to falls, poor lighting, potholes in the parking lot, or cracked pavement that makes a sidewalk uneven.
You may not even know what you’re looking for, but there’s a good chance you’ll find something that will help your case.
Another thing that your attorney can’t do – but you genuinely must – is obtain medical attention after an accident.
Even if you don’t “feel” injured, it’s important to be seen and examined by a doctor. Medical records document your injuries and their extent.
If you don’t see a doctor immediately after an accident, and you later file a personal injury claim, the other side might allege that your injury happened previously or that you weren’t really injured at all.
Moreover, some injuries that may initially seem trivial could, if untreated, later become serious medical conditions.
Sometimes, a personal injury case turns on some kind of physical evidence – an object like a broken stair, a busted streetlight, or a defective appliance. Physical evidence can also provide a graphic indication of the extent of an injury.
A car that’s been totaled, or ripped and blood-stained clothes, for example, are consistent with severe and catastrophic injuries.
Try to store and preserve any physical evidence that might be helpful to your case, or if it’s something like a busted streetlight, take photos and tell your attorney about it.
WHAT WILL AN ATTORNEY DO ON YOUR BEHALF?
If you’re injured by negligence in an accident anywhere in South Texas, a qualified Edinburg personal injury lawyer will immediately launch a comprehensive investigation of the accident and if the necessary call on assistance from medical authorities, accident reconstruction specialists, and other experts.
Your attorney will analyze every detail of the accident, determine who is liable, and develop a legal strategy aimed at obtaining the maximum available compensation.
After any accident and injury caused by negligence, you may receive a call from the negligent party’s insurance company. You shouldn’t trust that insurance company, even if it’s a national company with a good name and good advertising.
The company may offer you a quick settlement – something far less than your claim is really worth – or the company might simply try to pay you nothing.
If you’ve been injured, accept no settlement, sign no document, and make no statement to an insurance company before you speak with an experienced personal injury lawyer.
Finally, after an injury caused by negligence, there is one last thing you must do that your attorney can’t.
You have to make the call to an attorney promptly because a statute of limitations restricts the amount of time that a victim has to file a personal injury claim.
In most cases in Texas, the statute of limitations for a personal injury claim is two years from the date of the injury, although there are several exceptions.
But don’t wait two years to make the call. Evidence deteriorates or even disappears over time, and so do the memories of witnesses.
If you’re injured by negligence in Texas, contact an injury lawyer as quickly as you can after you’ve been examined by a doctor.
Negligence victims in Texas are entitled to compensation, and they are also entitled to justice.
By Chris Brasure
Brasure Law Firm, PLLC was founded by Chris Brasure in 2006. His legal accomplishments are diverse and numerous. He is a fellow with the Texas Bar Foundation, was a delegate in the American Bar Association House of Delegates and holds a BA in political science and speech communication from Baylor University. He then went on to obtain his law degree from Baylor University Law School. Chris believes that education is absolutely critical to one’s success, so his firm now offers The Brasure Law Firm Scholarship to give back to the community and to help students who are seeking to pursue a higher education.