The Preservation of Evidence After a car Accident
After a car accident there are many things going on and general chaos. You are in a state of shock and may have suffered injuries as a result of the accident, you are dealing with the other people involved, police reports, paramedics, bystanders that may have witnessed the collision and the damages to your vehicle. No wonder you feel like you're going crazy! The last thing on your mind is "preserving evidence," but this is the time you must do just that. Without evidence, your Ohio lawyer cannot file a claim for you. Ohio follows the "fault" or "tort" system which makes the person at fault for the accident liable for the damages, and you must present viable evidence of their fault. Your case needs a strong foundation, and that foundation is any evidence you can preserve and present in court. You need to establish fault and prove the extent of the damages suffered by you or your loved ones.
What Evidence Should I Preserve?
While the police report will contain any citations for infractions at the scene, names and contact information of possible witnesses along with their observations from a legal standpoint of the accident scene, it is advisable for you to collect this information yourself to have readily available for your attorney. Witness accounts are helpful in your case, particularly if they are unbiased and they don't know either party in the accident and so, have nothing to gain by telling anything but the truth.
Thanks to the popularity of cell phones, it is now easier than ever to get immediate pictures for physical evidence to support your claim. Videos of activity around the scene along with the audio can tell a lot about what has happened and may catch some interesting statements to help corroborate your version of what happened. Pictures and videos should include the area of the accident, both vehicles, the area you were coming from (a sharp curve, potholes or obstructions) and your injuries. If you are unable to take pictures, see if someone would get them for you. Be observant, look around for anything else that could be used as evidence, such as video cameras on any of the surrounding buildings or possible traffic cameras. You can never have too much evidence to present to your attorney.
Make sure you or someone with you get all necessary information from the other driver; name, license number, insurance information, make and model of their car and tag number. If your car needs to be towed, instruct the tow company to keep it intact until it has been inspected for any possible defective part, also get at least two repair estimates for your vehicle.
Your medical records are going to be a crucial part of your claim. Don't refuse an examination at the scene for medical attention. You may be suffering from shock and not realize the extent in which you are injured. Their evaluation may include taking you to the hospital, but in any case it is more documented evidence.
After receiving all your information, your Ohio lawyer will begin negotiations with the insurance company. This is where all of your carefully preserved evidence will prove invaluable. Depending on the propensity of evidence, the insurance company may decide to settle the claim to your satisfaction without going to court. If not, you have provided your attorney the means to pursue the claim and get you a just settlement.