When seeking compensation for injuries suffered in a car accident, you need evidence in order to win your case. Legally speaking, as the plaintiff, you need to prove your case by a “preponderance of the evidence.” This means that, if you case went to trial, you would need to convince the judge or jury that it is “more likely than not” that the other driver (or some other third party) was at fault in the accident.
Practically speaking, most cases settle with the insurance companies. When do the insurance companies decide to settle? When they realize that they could lose if the case goes to court. In other words, the insurance companies settle when the evidence shows that the claimant (and would-be plaintiff) is likely entitled to just compensation under the law.
Evidence of Liability in Florida Car Accidents
Evidence, then, is critical to success in any car accident injury claim. But, what qualifies as “evidence”? In a typical case, the types of evidence that are available may include:
- Vehicle Damage – This includes the damage to your vehicle and any other vehicles involved in the crash. It is important not to have your vehicle repaired until the damage has been fully documented.
- Skid Marks – Skid marks can help establish each vehicle’s direction of travel, speed and braking at the time of the accident.
- Photographs – If you are physically able, you should try to take as many photos at the scene as possible. Our investigator will take photos as well.
- Accident Reconstruction – In many cases, we will hire an accident reconstructionist to prepare a computer-generated model of the collision as it occurred in real time.
- Video Footage – Depending on where the accident occurred, traffic cameras or other video sources may have caught the accident on tape.
- Cell Phone Records – If the other driver was talking on the phone or texting, we can request his or her cell phone records to use as evidence in your case.
- Police Report – While the police report may be inadmissible in court (due to hearsay rules), it can still be persuasive in insurance negotiations, and we may be able use the police report to collect other information that will be useful if your case goes to trial.
- Social Media – People post information they shouldn’t on social media. If the other driver posted photos or statements about the accident online, we may be able to use them to your advantage.
- Witness Testimony – If there were any witnesses to the accident, we may be able to identify them and have them testify as to the cause of the accident in court. In many cases, we will hire expert witnesses to testify as well.
- Discovery Evidence – In car accident litigation, there is a process known as “discovery.” This is when we get to request information and records from the other side and take deposition testimony from the at-fault driver and any other individuals (such as car company employees) who may have information relevant to the case.
- Medical Records – Your medical records will be critical evidence in your car accident case. After any accident, it is important to seek medical attention right away and follow your doctor’s medical advice.
- Your Testimony – Finally, your testimony could be key evidence as well. What is your version of the events? How have your injuries impacted your life? Your answers to these questions and many more could have a significant impact on the insurance settlement process or the outcome at trial.
In order to collect as much evidence as possible, it is important to conduct an investigation soon after the accident. In fact, ideally, you should contact a law firm before you leave the scene. Certain types of evidence (such as skid marks) can disappear quickly; and, the sooner you hire a law firm to investigate, the better your chances will be of maximizing your financial recovery.
Contact the Destin Car Accident Lawyers at Powell, Powell & Powell, P.A.
If you have been injured in a car accident in Northwest Florida, we are here to help. To speak with one of our experienced attorneys about your case, call (850) 682-2757 or request a free consultation online now.