Preserving Evidence

Transcript: Preserving evidence following a collision is critical. And whether you recover from that collision financially and whether you recover the total amount that you’re entitled to recover legally will depend upon the evidence of the collision and the facts that are preserved. It’s important to promptly locate witnesses. It’s important to get measurements of skid marks. It’s important to do all the photographing that is normally done following an accident. Now, on the more serious accidents many police departments take photographs, but we’ve found that in many occasions on the smaller accidents the police don’t take photographs. And additionally, there has been an effort to financially cut back on some of the police departments and so sending a crew out to take photographs is often very rare these days. You should speak to a lawyer about specific advice, but in general we would suggest a couple of things. Keep everything pertaining to your case, including police reports, medical bills, medical records that you’re given, in a box or a grocery bag, or something in your house so it’s segregated away from any other papers and so that it doesn’t get lost or thrown away. Get photos of the vehicle, not just yours, but any vehicle involved in the collision as soon as possible, and preserve those hotographs. And a lot of times people take photographs on their smartphone cameras. Those are usually not sufficient. They are sometimes better than nothing, but we’ve also found that a lot of people who try to take their own photographs don’t take a photograph of the right thing. They’ll get up very close to a vehicle and show marks and dents, but it’s often important to also get a photo of the vehicle at a distance, so the damage can be seen in perspective with the rest of the vehicle. We also tell people to follow the advice of their doctors and to work hard to regain their health. Now this may seem like advice that doesn’t need to be given, but a lot of times we find that people, for whatever reason, do not follow their doctor’s advice or they cut corners and try to avoid physical therapy and the costs associated with it by trying to do things on their own. That’s really not helpful to you getting well, and getting well quickly because we sometimes find that people that try to cut corners and not follow their doctor’s advice end up taking much longer to heal than otherwise would be the case. The other thing that’s important is be cautious about talking to insurance adjusters. And we have other information on our website about why that’s important. But even the people who handle your own medical claim, you have to be cautious about talking to them. You have to give them information if it’s in your policy requirements to do so, but be careful about what you discuss and about the merits of your case. For example, if you’re just receiving a call from, say, your healthcare insurance company and they ask you, Well how are you doing today? And you say, Oh, I’m fine. That will get noted in their records that you’re done with all your medical care and you’re fine. So be very cautious about talking to them. Now we’ve all watched TV shows, especially the criminal shows focusing on crime scene investigations and preserving evidence from a crime scene, it’s just as important in an auto accident case to preserve evidence, get photographs, and document exactly what happened. Many times witnesses can be located if information is put into a newspaper or on the internet asking for people to come forward following an accident.