Posted on behalf of Anderson Cummings on Feb 11, 2020 in Personal Injury
Strong evidence is a necessity when pursuing compensation for a personal injury. Unfortunately, evidence can easily be lost or tampered with, and this may hurt your chances of recovering compensation.
The experienced legal team at Anderson Cummings can use certain techniques to gather and preserve evidence to help support a claim. Schedule a free consultation to learn more about how we may be able to assist you.
Spoliation of Evidence
In some cases, evidence can be spoiled either unintentionally or on purpose. People’s memories can fade, evidence can be removed, and electronic data can be lost. Experienced lawyers know how time-sensitive cases can be and can take steps to preserve evidence before it is lost or destroyed.
One effective technique our Weatherford personal injury attorneys may use is to write a spoliation of evidence letter. In this letter, the lawyer explains that a claim is being pursued and instructs the person in possession of certain physical or intangible property not to destroy, transfer or alter the potential evidence.
The letter should clearly identify the property you expect the recipient to preserve. This letter puts the recipient on notice that litigation is possible and raises a presumption that if evidence is destroyed after this point, it was done on purpose.
A letter of this nature may be used to preserve evidence such as:
- Video recordings
- Recorded audio or computer media
- Medical records
- Computer records
- Electronic data in vehicles
- Damaged property like vehicle parts
- Items that caused your slip and fall
Someone who receives a letter of this nature and destroys the evidence after receiving it may be sanctioned by the court or subject to a jury instruction that could negatively affect his or her defense.
Importance of Taking Pictures
Pictures can help an insurance adjuster or jury more clearly see how an accident occurred. There may be various pieces of evidence that can be captured by simply taking a picture at or near the time of the accident. Pictures can provide a more objective view of the accident.
If you are able, take pictures at the scene of the accident. If you were injured, you may be able to return to the scene later to take pictures or you can ask a trusted friend or relative to take pictures for you. Try to capture the following:
- Damage to vehicles
- Other property damage
- Skid marks
- Broken car parts
- Your injuries
- Nearby signs
- Road conditions
- Weather conditions
- The accident scene from various angles
- Any items that you think may have contributed to the accident
Statements from objective witnesses who are not connected to either party can be very persuasive. They may push the claim in favor of one of the parties in a he said-she said situation. Objective witnesses have no personal or financial interest in a claim, so they do not typically have an incentive to lie about what they saw.
Witnesses can provide evidence that you did not observe yourself. They may be able to provide helpful information to demonstrate the other party’s negligence or support your claim for damages.
Witnesses may be very important if they saw certain things, such as:
- The other driver speeding
- The other driver texting right before the accident
- A spill in a store hours before your accident
- You in pain immediately after the accident
- Hearing the driver admit he or she did not see you right before the accident
Witness testimony about telling a store owner about a hazardous condition or providing aid to you because you were injured could also be very helpful.
It is important that you try to collect the names and contact information for any witnesses who observed your accident so your lawyer can contact them later.
Contact a Lawyer to Protect Your Rights
If you were injured due to someone else’s negligence and would like assistance in gathering and preserving evidence, contact Anderson Cummings for help. Our personal injury team can quickly identify important evidence and take the necessary steps to preserve it.
Our initial consultations are always free and confidential. Contact us today to schedule yours.