When you file a personal injury claim for a car accident, defective product, medical malpractice, wrongful death, slip and fall, or other personal injuries, you have the burden of proving that the other party caused your injury.
The burden of proof under personal injury law is by a preponderance of the evidence. That means the evidence proves there is a greater than 50% chance the defendant committed the alleged acts.
A Fort Walton Beach personal injury lawyer will comprehensively investigate the cause of your injury or accident. They’ll gather evidence to prove causation and fault to establish liability for your damages.
Examples of Evidence Used in Personal Injury Cases
The types of evidence you might present to prove your personal injury claim include:
- Testimony from the individuals in the case, expert witnesses, eyewitnesses, and other parties with information related to the claim
- Documentary evidence, such as photographs, audio records, videos, and written documents
- Tangible evidence, such as skid marks from a car accident or broken railings in a premises liability claim
- Circumstantial evidence that the fact must be true because there is no other reasonable explanation
The Florida Rules of Evidence govern the evidence you can present in court. Only evidence admissible in court can be used to prove that an at-fault party is responsible for your damages.
The evidence used in your case depends on the facts and circumstances of your injury. However, common types of evidence used to prove personal injury claims include:
You must prove that the defendant’s actions caused your injuries. Therefore, you need medical records to prove the type and severity of your injury. Furthermore, medical records can help link the defendant’s negligence to your injuries.
Examples of medical evidence include:
- Copies of medical bills
- Records of medical care at hospitals and other health care facilities
- Statements and records from physicians, surgeons, ambulance services, emergency rooms, and primary care doctors
- Lab reports and records for diagnostic testing
- Psychological records
- Records of medications
- Physical, occupational, and other therapy records
Prompt medical treatment after an accident or injury improves your chance of recovering full compensation for damages. Delays in medical care could cause the insurance company to raise allegations of failure to mitigate damages and contributory fault.
Police and Accident Reports
An official record of the accident or injury will assist in the claims investigation. Also, the information on the report can help lead to evidence that could be used in court.
Therefore, immediately report car accidents, falls, dog bites, and other injuries to the appropriate agencies or parties. For example, calling 911 is the best way to report a car crash.
Falls and injuries on another party’s property should be reported to the property owner, manager, and other interested parties. Dog bites can be reported to animal control, the police department, the dog’s owner, and the property owner.
Witness testimony includes testimony from the parties involved in the personal injury case and eyewitnesses. Eyewitness testimony can be very compelling because the person does not have an interest in the outcome of the case, unlike the parties to the lawsuit.
Expert testimony can help strengthen the claim. It can also provide information and evidence that supports your allegations. Expert witnesses in a personal injury case could include medical experts, economists, financial professionals, accident reconstructionists, trucking industry experts, and manufacturing experts.
If an injury prevents you from working, you can claim lost wages as damages. However, you must prove through medical records and employment records that you missed time from work because of an injury.
Examples of employment records used in personal injury cases include:
- Wage statements and pay stubs
- Tax returns
- Profit and loss statements
- Income statements
- Employment contracts
- Statements from your employer
Diminished earning capacity claims require you to prove that your injuries decreased your ability to earn as much income as you would have earned had you not been injured. Therefore, you need records to help prove what you could have earned if the other party had not caused your injury.
Videos and Photographs
Photographs and videos of an accident and the scene provide persuasive and detailed evidence that can be used to prove fault. They can also help show a jury the severity of an accident. Videos may be obtained from traffic cameras, witness videos, dash cams, and nearby surveillance cameras.
You may also want to take photographs of the accident scene while you wait for medical services and police to arrive. It can also help to have photographs of your injuries after the accident and throughout your recovery to show how they progress.
Pain and Suffering Journal
Accident victims can receive compensation for their economic damages or monetary losses. Those losses include the cost of medical treatment, out-of-pocket expenses, and loss of income.
However, they can also recover compensation for their non-economic damages.
These damages represent the pain and suffering the victim experiences because of the personal injury and accident, including:
- Physical pain and discomfort
- Diminished quality of life
- Emotional distress
- Scarring and disfigurement
- Mental anguish
- Loss of enjoyment of life
- Impairments and disabilities
Non-economic damages are subjective because everyone suffers differently after an injury. It can be helpful to keep a journal detailing your struggles as you recover from the injury.
Make notes about your emotional state, pain levels, activities you cannot perform, and how the injuries impact your daily life and relationships with others. Details help jurors understand the full impact of the defendant’s conduct on your life.
Be Organized and Detailed When Collecting Evidence
Your personal injury lawyer will handle most of the evidence gathering for your case. However, you can help your lawyer and improve your chances of receiving maximum compensation by keeping detailed records.
It can help to create files for each type of evidence in your case. Place the evidence in each file, make detailed notes, and give the evidence to your lawyer promptly. Your lawyer may also provide guidance regarding evidence you can gather to help prove your case.
Contact a Fort Walton Beach Personal Injury Lawyer For Help Gathering Evidence to Prove Your Case
An experienced lawyer will understand the evidence needed to prove liability in a personal injury claim. Schedule a free consultation to discuss your case with an experienced Fort Walton Beach personal injury attorney.