After you have been injured in a motor vehicle collision, it is best to start building your case. You will need to gather as much evidence as possible to (i) strengthen your claim, and (ii) ensure that the insurance company gives you the settlement that your injuries deserve. As the plaintiff, you have the burden of proof, which means that the defendant does not have to prove anything except his or her innocence – you, on the other hand, must prove that the defendant owed you a duty of care, then breached that duty, and that your injuries and damages resulted. This is a heavy burden – one that most victims are unprepared to handle.
Evidence and the Burden of Proof
Insurance companies use the burden of proof to their advantage. They know that the burden of proof lies on you, the plaintiff. In order to meet this burden of proof, you must substantiate every claim in your lawsuit with actual evidence. That means proving that the defendant caused the accident, that his or her actions were negligent, and even proving how much you have paid (or will pay in the future) in medical costs, because of that accident.
Evidence comes in many forms, typically including documents like medical bills, pay stubs, police reports, etc. It can also include photographs, witness testimonies, expert testimonies and videos.
Evidence from the Scene of the Accident is the Most Important
The most critical evidence that you gather will be what is found at the scene of the accident. Even a minor accident will have some sort of evidence to prove your case. After an accident, check on everyone involved to make sure that no one needs immediate medical attention. Then, start documenting as much as you can. If you are unable to document, ask a friend or family member to share the task with you.
Some things that you should document include:
- What you were doing before, during, and after the accident.
- Witnesses of the accident, as well as their contact information.
- Photographs or video of the accident scene – including the position of the vehicles, street signs, traffic signals, weather conditions, etc.
- Damage to your vehicle.
- Pictures of your injuries (if apparent at the scene).
Evidence of Your Damages
Damages are your losses after an injury. These can include lost wages, medical bills, and even car rental fees. Most of your settlement will stem from these economic damages; therefore, you must have documented proof of their legitimacy. This can include gathering medical bills that you or your insurer have paid for injuries resulting from the accident, paycheck stubs to prove your lost wages, medical statements, proof of damage to your vehicle, etc.
Receive the Compensation That You Deserve – Contact a Car Accident Attorney in New York
If you have been seriously injured in an auto accident, do not let the burden of proof stop you from filing a claim. Contact Schwartzapfel® Lawyers P.C. today. We can assist you with filing your claim and gathering evidence, and we will work as your advocates to ensure that you receive fair compensation. Call us now to schedule a free consultation at 1-877-737-4806 or fill out our online contact form with your legal questions.