Guide to Gathering Evidence after Your Portland Car Accident
While it unlikely that you intended to become involved in a traffic accident and get injured as a result, if you find yourself in such a situation, you do have a duty of care to act in your best interests. In this article, we’ll be examining how to gather the evidence necessary for you to pursue a personal injury case with the insurance company yourself, or evidence to allow a Portland car accident attorney to provide you the best representation possible.
First and foremost, however, if you have just been in a crash you have a duty to mitigate and limit your injuries, by reducing the risk of causing further accidents. This means removing the vehicle from obstructing the road, if it could potentially cause you or others further harm, and to immediately seek medical assistance for those injured. Remember, standing around arguing with the offending driver does nothing to support your argument that you have sustained substantial injury. And if a further accident is caused by your damaged vehicle obstructing the roadway, you yourself could become liable for not having cleared the roadway in a timely manner.
It is important, though, to balance these safety procedures against the importance of collecting evidence to support your assertions of what happened and who is liable.
Take Photographs of the Portland Car Accident Scene.
With the abundance of cameras now built into telephones, the most effective way is to take a large number of photographs with your cell.
Photographs are particularly meaningful as they convey information and detail that words often cannot. Photographs can be the most impressive piece of evidence in jury determinations, as well as being particularly useful in settlement negotiations. Indeed, having a comprehensive evidence gallery of photographs can greatly influence your Portland car accident attorney taking up the case on your behalf, because he/she knows the power of such compelling evidence.
Therefore, you should set about taking photographs of the location of the accident to provide context and a large range of distant and close-up shots of every possible detail that could help you prove your case. Think macro and micro – meaning take overall pictures of the total scene/injury, and then many close-ups; the detailed ones of specific things like a blown tire, impact damage, skid-marks on the road, where witnesses are gathered, bruising and other injuries. And while you take these photographs, think about it from the jury’s perspective and how they need to see the detail to better determine compensation.
Show the jury how the accident has affected you. Photograph your injuries thoroughly both just after the accident and throughout any healing process. More photos still of medical procedures, surgeries, or treatments of the injury. Photograph cuts, bruises, and surgical sites and scars in good lighting conditions and with careful focus. If there are medical instruments or equipment, such as crutches, a specialist bed, braces etc., you are well advised to take photographs of these as well. Take a series of photos that show your limitations of movement from the injury.
Talk to Witnesses Who Saw Your Portland Car Crash.
Then you must collect the contact details of potential witnesses, ideally with at least a few notes of what they recall then and there. You do not want a witness who said they saw nothing arriving at court for the other party now professing to see something. Your notes taken at the time indicating they said they saw nothing could be important later. Collect the license plate details of those cars in the vicinity – no detail is irrelevant or too small to collect.
Other Evidence You Could Need After Your Car Accident.
As soon as you get home, take detailed notes about everything you remember about the car accident. Here you were, which direction you were driving, any nearby traffic signals, the weather, any unusual behavior from drivers around you and on and on. You will be surprised how quickly you can forget details like this, so if you write them down ASAP you decrease the chance of having recollection problems later. Make sure, however, that you are only writing down the facts and have not made any assumptions in your record.
Begin as soon as possible to write a personal injury journal, to record the extent of your injuries, and the progress your healing, limitations of movement and anything else that a jury may take into account. Remember, you could possibly be awarded damages for any forced changes in lifestyle, inability to still participate in your hobbies, etc., and the journal will show this.
You will also need a copy of your Police report, if there is one. This report will give lots of details you might need later, inc. the date and time of the accident, the weather, the other driver’s name and contact information, as well as any citations given for not driving according to the rules of the road.
Finally, be sure to notify your insurance company promptly, and do look through their policy papers for the proper processes and time frames to adhere to. But do not sign anything – you will want to determine the extent of your injuries and property damages before signing any releases, and you might want to speak with a Portland car accident attorney before signing anything at all.
Evidence is Important for Your Portland Accident Case.
Preserve all evidence. If your vehicle was destroyed, have your Portland car accident attorney recommend a mechanic to examine it so you can start determining the cost of the repairs or the value of the car if it was totaled. If your clothing was torn in the accident, keep that too. Anything damaged in the accident should be examined later for a property damage claim. Any injuries should be treated and the medical bills gathered to determine the value of a personal injury claim.