How to Document the Scene of a Personal Injury Accident
Written by AskTheLawyers.com™ on behalf of Micah L. Satterwhite with Sloan Firm.
After a serious injury occurs, it’s important to take the time to document the scene where it happened. Whether the injury occurred after a car accident, work accident, or another situation, pictures, videos, and records supporting the facts of the situation are invaluable to building an effective personal injury claim. If the victim of a personal injury is too injured to collect this evidence, a family member, friend, or attorney can do so on the injured party’s behalf.
How to document the scene where an injury occurred:
- Take photos/videos of the surroundings. This includes the road, sky, weather, and any other element of the surroundings which could give people a better idea of the environmental circumstances surrounding the accident.
- Take photos/videos of any property damage. This includes your own property as well as any other property damaged in the accident. In the case of a car accident, it is important to get photos or videos of both vehicles as well as any piece of surrounding property that was damaged in the accident.
- Take photos/videos of contributing factors. Contributing factors could include anything from a faulty ladder or lack of proper warning signs to a crack in the concrete. Anything that could have contributed to the accident or injury should be recorded for later analysis.
- Take photos/videos of the injury. It’s important to collect documentation on the injury itself, including pictures and/or videos that can prove the severity of the injury.
- Collect witness information and testimonies. It’s important to request the name and contact information of anyone who might have witnessed the injury occur. Additionally, if they are willing to have their testimony recorded, this can be a valuable piece of evidence for your case.
- Collect information of the involved parties. In the case of a car or other accident where multiple parties were involved or injured, it’s important to request names and contact information so you or your attorney can later follow-up.
- Collect any incident reports involved in the accident. When an accident happens at work or on commercial property, management is often required to write up an incident report detailing the accident. In this case or if a similar record exists, it’s important to request a copy for yourself.
- Seek medical care and keep the records. Seeking immediate medical care is one of the best things an injured person can do to protect their claim in the future. Waiting to seek medical care could result in another party questioning the validity of the injury down the road. Additionally, this ensures that a record exists regarding the injury; it’s important to request a copy of any medical records involved in the injury as well.
- Collect any other existing documentation. Any other type of report, document, information, or photo/video evidence you suspect might be useful to have on hand when filing a claim should be collected in case there is a need for it in the future.
It’s essential to keep all of this evidence in a safe place where it cannot be lost or deleted. What might seem irrelevant to the untrained eye could actually be used to strengthen the validity of your claim further down the road.
Attorneys have access to evidence that the average person may not.
This is why it’s a good idea to seek the help of an attorney after a personal injury accident. The majority of personal injury attorneys work on contingency; this means from the consultation through the actual trial proceedings, you will not owe a penny unless and until your attorney wins your case. Evidence an attorney has access to that can be otherwise difficult to obtain includes law enforcement traffic records, driving logs in the case of truck accidents, and surveillance footage from nearby businesses that might have caught the accident on tape. Additionally, these attorneys have access to experts who know how to evaluate the worth of a claim to help your legal team seek the maximum compensation possible to cover your damages. If you or a loved one suffered a personal injury, seek legal counsel to discuss the viability of your claim.