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How to Collect Evidence for a Personal Injury Case

After sustaining an injury caused by the careless or negligent actions of another individual, business, or entity, you should be able to recover compensation for your losses. However, recovering compensation can be challenging, particularly if liability is questioned. The best way to prove what happened in a personal injury case is to gather as much evidence as possible. We strongly recommend that you work with a skilled personal injury attorney in Seattle who can assist you immediately in gathering all of the evidence needed to prove liability.

Collecting Evidence at an Injury Scene

The process of gathering evidence typically begins immediately, but this may not always be a possibility. The aftermath of an injury can be chaotic, particularly if there has been an emergency such as a severe vehicle accident. The number one priority is scene safety and ensuring injured parties receive medical care.

However, there are various types of evidence that can be gathered if the scene is safe and if an individual does not have to go to the hospital right away. This can include:

  • Using a phone to take photographs of the accident scene, injuries, cause of the accident, debris, obvious safety violations, and more.
  • Gathering the names and contact information of any eyewitnesses to the incident so that they can be contacted by insurance carriers or participate in a personal injury trial.
  • Gathering any physical evidence that can be obtained. This may not necessarily be possible for incidents like vehicle accidents. However, suppose a person slips and falls as a result of spilled liquid at a grocery store. Individuals should keep their shoes and clothing that may have remnants of the liquid.

Gathering Evidence in the Days and Weeks After an Accident

Not all evidence can be gathered right away at the scene of an incident, and a personal injury investigation will likely take weeks or even months after the incident occurs. An attorney can send a letter of spoliation to all parties involved notifying them that they are not to destroy or alter any evidence that could be brought into a potential civil personal injury claim.

An attorney will also work diligently to uncover any additional evidence that could not be gathered right away after an accident occurred. This can include determining whether or not there were any surveillance cameras in the area and working through the court system to obtain the video footage (commercial surveillance cams, Ring doorbell cams, dashcam footage, etc.).

Additionally, an attorney will gather any records or safety data related to the at-fault party. For example, an attorney could look into the driving history of an at-fault driver to see if they have a history of impaired or reckless driving. For premises liability cases, an attorney will likely want to see the employee safety training and inspection and maintenance history of the location.

Settlement or Trial?

Personal injury cases vary in complexity. In some situations, a case may be resolved within a few weeks through a settlement with insurance carriers. However, if there is a question about liability, investigations could take months or even years to occur, particularly if the insurance carrier refuses to offer a fair settlement. It may be necessary to move forward with filing a personal injury lawsuit against the at-fault party in order to recover compensation. For more information, contact a Seattle personal injury lawyer at Elk & Elk Co., Ltd today.