Evidence You Need to Save After a Motor Vehicle Accident
When you have been involved in a motor vehicle accident, certain evidence will be important for your personal injury case. This evidence can be in a variety of forms, including photos and videos, and do not just include documents in paper form. At its essence, the evidence is considered information that helps prove that the accident was not your fault, to prove you were injured from the accident and the extent of the injuries. After the accident, your first priority should always be to seek medical attention. You will also want to contact a motor vehicle lawyer in Southern Ontario as soon as possible for guidance on your specific case.
At the Accident Scene
Once you are certain you are out of harm’s way, there are steps that you or your family members can take to preserve the evidence needed to support your case. Calling the ambulance if it is necessary will provide you with immediate medical assistance, and it will provide a medical record on file, that will be additional to the hospital report. An ambulance attendant can also be a witness to observations after a collision at the accident scene.
Contacting the police will also provide an official record of the accident. The police will come to the scene and investigate the accident. He or she will speak to each party, take notes, and may draw a diagram in his or her notepad. Depending on the circumstances, the officer may or may not lay charges as well.
When involved in a motor vehicle accident remembering to obtain the following from the other party will be helpful when speaking to your lawyer:
- Other driver’s name
- Contact details
- License and insurance information
- Vehicle make and model
- License plate number
Note: The police may not share this information with you if there are pending charges.
If there was a witness to the accident, obtaining the witness’ name and contact information may be valuable for your personal injury lawyer to contact at a later date, if needed.
Taking photographs or videos at the accident scene with a camera phone can serve as evidence of important information, such as weather and road conditions, whether there were any skid marks from trying to stop, the final position of the vehicles and any vehicle debris. This evidence may be used to reveal clues about the direction from which the vehicle was struck and the speed of oncoming vehicle(s). Other debris, such as brake lines or shredded tires could indicate a manufacturer defect or any other contributing factors. Taking photos with varying distances and from different directions will help your case and can provide information about the surrounding area, such as the distance to a traffic sign or signal.
If you have suffered physical injuries capturing it with photos and or videos will be helpful later both for your family physician and your personal injury lawyer in Southern Ontario. You should have several photos taken from different angles, including some close ups.
Whether you were driving a car or riding a motorcycle or bicycle, preserving the evidence of the damage done to your property can help to establish how the accident happened and the severity of the impact. Before any repairs are conducted, make sure you have photographs of the vehicle’s damage. Again, these can be taken on a smart phone or camera. It is also important to have a mechanic provide an assessment of the extent of the damage caused by the accident. In the case of an automobile accident, your insurance company will likely document this as well.
You should also take photos of any personal items you were wearing during the accident, including clothing, glasses or other accessories; so that any damaged items can be replaced. If you were involved in a bike or pedestrian accident, you might want to save your clothes, footwear, gloves and any other protective gear, such as a broken helmet, as evidence until after the accident has been settled should it be requested.
If you miss work as a result of your injuries, it is important to document your time away from your job. Whether you lose a contract, incur sick days from work, or you are off work for an extended period, keep a record of the loss and provide information about your regular income, any bonuses and your last tax return to your personal injury lawyer.
Ongoing Medical Evidence
While most of the evidence you should preserve will be from the accident scene or just afterward, it is also important to preserve evidence to establish how this accident impacted your life.
The most important proof of your injuries is medical evidence. Regularly consulting your family doctor, specialists, and other professionals to ensure that you are getting the proper care and advice on your medical condition. These medical professionals keep detailed records of your visits, treatment and advice provided. These records are often key pieces of evidence before and at trial. If you do not seek proper medical care, this evidence will not be available, and you may not receive the compensation you deserve. If your adjuster asks to you to attend an independent medical examination, you should discuss this with your personal injury lawyer before attending.
In addition to medical treatment, following an accident you may experience an increase in out-of-pocket expenses. For example, many injured people have to hire different forms of transportation, require assistance with snow shovelling, housekeeping or childcare. If you have incurred expenses due to limitations caused by the accident, make sure to preserve these receipts and provide them to your personal injury lawyer, as you are likely eligible to be reimbursed for these expenses.
Failing to Preserve Evidence
Failure to provide evidence may result in a delay or a reduction of your compensation. In Morgan v. Saquing, 2015 ONSC 2647 (CanLII), Justice Glustein held that Mr. Morgan, a physical education teacher, was not entitled to compensation for lost income, despite being unable to work for nearly four years. Part of his determination was based on the fact that there was no evidence that Mr. Morgan had consulted a medical professional about his decision to take time off of work due to his injuries.
Contact a Personal Injury Lawyer in Southern Ontario
At Will Davidson LLP, our personal injury lawyers can help you get the compensation you deserve. Our accident claim lawyers in Southern Ontario has decades of experience representing satisfied clients. With offices in Toronto, Oakville, Huntsville, Midland, Lindsay, Orillia, Markham, Bowmanville, Burlington and Whitby our accident claim lawyers are well positioned to get you the compensation you deserve. Contact us at 1.866.940.9002 today to discuss your free consultation for our legal services.