You’re probably very familiar with the criminal justice system and how so much of a case depends on physical evidence. For example, if detectives don’t have enough evidence against a suspect, they won’t even bother pressing charges. Or, if a prosecutor feels there isn’t enough evidence to guarantee they’ll win at trial, the prosecutor may throw out a case because they just don’t want to waste taxpayers’ money and risk losing.
Just as the physical evidence is critical to a criminal case, it’s equally important in personal injury cases. The more physical evidence a plaintiff (injured party) has, the greater their chances of convincing the at-fault party’s insurance company or a jury that they deserve fair compensation for their injuries.
Ways Physical Evidence Can Help
As time passes, physical evidence can be lost, destroyed, thrown away, or even hidden or concealed never to be seen again. Sometimes though, fault in a personal injury claim can be demonstrated through a single piece of physical evidence – something that can be seen or touched as opposed to someone’s account of what took place.
For example, a photo of a dent in a driver’s side door can show where it was hit. Or, a photo of a spill on a grocery floor can paint a clear picture. A bloody pair of jeans that were worn when a vicious dog attacked someone, or a photo of an overhanging branch before it was quickly trimmed can show how it blocked a driver’s visibility before he was hit by another car – these are examples of evidence that can help support a personal injury claim.
In many situations, if physical evidence is not photographed or saved within a few short days of the accident, it will be lost or intentionally destroyed. It can also be repaired, modified, discarded, or otherwise ruined permanently. If for example, you’re in a bicycle accident, please don’t
throw away the bike. Instead, save it for evidence purposes. Or, if you’re injured by a defective product, don’t send it back to the manufacturer or discard it. Hang on to it.
Photographs Are Your Next Best Option
If for some reason, you don’t have the physical evidence or you can’t get your hands on it, photographs are your next best option. You may not be able to preserve the evidence for one reason or another, but you should be able to take out your cellphone and take pictures and record video. Just remember to take numerous photos from different angles immediately following the accident. Print out the photos promptly and make sure you have them developed someplace where the date is stamped on the back of the pictures. Also, don’t forget to hang on to the receipt.