How to Preserve Evidence in a Personal Injury Case

In any personal injury case, the preservation of evidence is very important. After all, having the right evidence — like police reports, witness statements, and photographs of the scene — helps you to build your case against the person or agency that harmed you. One step you can take to preserve evidence includes filing your claim close to when the incident occurred. Likewise, you can save records that relate to the incident and its consequences and take detailed notes about what happened.

Steve Morris Law cares deeply about the frustration and stress of those who break bones, lose a loved one, or are harmed in other ways because of someone else’s mistakes. Throughout our decades in practice, we have learned many different ways to gather and preserve evidence. We also know how to use these materials to build a case that aligns with our client’s best interests.

The Importance of Preservation of Evidence

Locating and safeguarding evidence allows the victim to build a case against the institution or person who is to blame for their injuries. They can point to these items to prove, for example, that the other driver was drunk when the accident occurred.

Taking swift action can help the casualty gather as much high-quality evidence as possible. As time passes, witnesses may not remember things as well as they did right after the event occurred. Likewise, records may get lost in the shuffle months or years afterward. The casualty can take steps to identify and preserve evidence to help their claim remain strong.

Immediate Steps To Take After the Incident

If you are in an accident or are harmed by someone else’s actions, there are steps you can take to protect yourself and your claim. The first step is to seek medical attention if you are hurt or believe you may be. When you see the doctor for this initial visit, tell them what you think is the cause of your wounds. The doctor can then include this in their notes for you to reference later.

Other steps you can take depend on what occurred. For example, if you were in a car crash, Alabama law may require you to exchange information with those involved in the collision.

Likewise, you may have to notify local law enforcement about the wreck.

If applicable, you may want to notify your insurance company about the incident. After you begin the claims process, you may consider taking legal action in court. If you have concerns about people destroying or losing materials you may need in your case, you or your attorney may send a notice to preserve evidence. This can put others on notice that you are involved in a claim and may need to request information or items to support your position.

Types of Evidence To Preserve

Depending on the type of case you are involved in, there are many different categories of evidence you may need. For example, you may use documentary evidence, such as police reports, medical records, letters, contracts, text messages, or emails. Photographic evidence may also play a role, such as X-rays, pictures, printouts, and diagrams. In some cases, physical evidence like a dog’s tags, driver’s licenses, or tire tracks may come into play.

What Is Spoliation of Evidence?

Spoliation of evidence is where someone destroys evidence that can be used in a lawsuit. The destruction of evidence can be intentional or unintentional. For example, a trucking company may delete the logs from an electronic logging device of a truck involved in a jackknife collision.

Or a hospital may shred or erase medical records for a patient who had a botched surgery.

The Purpose of a Preservation of Evidence Letter

A preservation of evidence letter puts whoever receives it on notice that they have or may have evidence that may be used in a current or future case. This document helps to limit the chance that someone inadvertently destroys important information or items. Additionally, if the recipient goes ahead and throws away evidence, the casualty can use this letter as evidence against the person.

How an Attorney Can Help Casualties Gather and Preserve Evidence

Personal injury lawyers have special training in the legal process of identifying, gathering, using, and preserving evidence. For example, they understand what the elements of negligence are and how a casualty can use evidence to meet these requirements. They can request police reports, medical documents, photographic or video evidence, and business records.

Likewise, they know when to send out preservation letters and to whom. Having this knowledge helps them take steps to prevent someone from inadvertently destroying something that can be crucial to a claim. And they also have the training to identify when someone is concealing or has destroyed evidence.

Need Help Preserving Evidence? An Alabama Attorney Can Help

Preservation of evidence allows you to keep what you need to build a case against those who harmed you. By taking careful steps, you can identify what you may need and protect those things from getting lost or destroyed.

If a business or another person hurts you, consider contacting Steve Morris Law by calling 256-357-9211 to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation. For decades, we have stood by those whose lives are changed because of the misconduct of others. We have a wealth of knowledge and resources that we can use to locate and safeguard evidence to help maximize your chance of receiving a full and fair settlement.

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