How Do Personal Injury Lawyers Gather Evidence?
A personal injury attorney must have a broad skill set. He or she must be able to argue persuasively, listen attentively, understand complex laws, and provide assistance to clients who may be suffering from life-changing injuries. In addition to all this, a personal injury attorney must be something of a detective. One of the most important jobs is to gather evidence that will convince a judge and jury that the plaintiff deserves significant financial compensation in the aftermath of an accident. This evidence includes an array of material, from more mundane paperwork to tangible evidence from the scene of the incident. The Central Florida personal injury lawyers of Chanfrau & Chanfrau have the experience and skill to obtain strong evidence on behalf of clients.
What the Evidence Must Prove
To wage a successful personal injury claim, an attorney must prove several things. First, he must prove that the defendant had a duty to protect the plaintiff. This duty could involve a more personal relationship, such as a landlord’s duty to a tenant, or it could involve a more general duty. For example, all drivers have a legal responsibility to protect other drivers on the road. Second, the attorney must prove that the defendant failed to protect the plaintiff by acting recklessly or negligently. This breach in duty must have directly resulted in injury or financial harm to the plaintiff. When an attorney gathers evidence, he or she attempts to find all relevant information that will establish these facts.
Though probably the least exciting type of evidence, paper evidence can impact a case more than any other factor. Important documents include:
- Police reports: These can often be essential components of a successful personal injury case, and they are invaluable in establishing liability for an accident
- Medical records and insurance documentation: Presenting this evidence in court is one of the easiest ways to prove that injury or property damage did actually occur. This evidence can also help you to obtain the full amount of compensation to which you are entitled.
- Records for time off of work: This documentation can help you recover lost wages and benefits
Though your lawyer will gather this evidence, you also have a personal responsibility to preserve all evidence. You should also be sure to keep all evidence confidential. You should never discuss the details of your case on social media or in public.
Third party testimony is another vital component of a successful personal injury lawsuit. Of course, at the time of the accident, police may already have interviewed eyewitnesses who can give valuable oral evidence. However, in some cases, your attorney may also call in expert witnesses. These trained professionals will analyze the circumstances of an accident and inform the jury of the most likely sequence of events. Expert witnesses are particularly helpful in auto accident or medical malpractice cases - situations in which in-depth, specialized knowledge is needed to make an informed judgment. The best personal injury attorneys will be able to call on one or more expert witnesses to testify in your case.
Finally, tangible physical evidence can be enormously helpful in a personal injury lawsuit. Examples of this type of evidence will vary widely, depending on the kind of injury lawsuit you are waging. For example, x-rays could prove invaluable in a medical malpractice case, while an icy sidewalk or broken stair could be definitive evidence in a premises liability case. Skid marks, damaged vehicles, and road conditions are often used as evidence in auto accident lawsuits. Of course, some of these pieces of evidence, such as the icy sidewalk or the skid marks, will not last, so lawyers often use photos and videos in their place. For this reason, it is essential that you take action immediately after an accident. While it is preferable to obtain the services of an attorney at once, if this is not possible, you or someone you trust should obtain photographic documentation of your accident.
Find a Lawyer
Thorough evidence is the key to a successful personal injury lawsuit. Experienced attorneys will know the best type of evidence to use in these cases, and they can gather most of the evidence themselves, allowing you to focus on physical and emotional recovery following your personal injury. Contact the attorneys at Chanfrau & Chanfrau to begin gathering the evidence you need.