Winning your Michigan personal injury case can often come down to having the right evidence on your side. When you file a claim or lawsuit, but lack sufficient evidence to prove your case, your chance of success decreases immensely. The Michigan personal injury lawyers encourage you to follow these tips to win your case.
At the outset, it is important to preserve as much information as quickly as possible following an accident. The closer in time to the accident evidence can be collected, the more credible and therefore more powerful it will be.
Therefore, it is important to take photographs and/or videotape an accident scene if possible. If you are involved in a car accident, call the police and ensure a police report is taken. This will preserve the record and provides the insurance company with an authoritative review on how the car accident occurred.
In addition, take photographs of the vehicle damage to your car as well as the other vehicles involved in the crash. Look for skids marks or other property damage and photograph this as well.
Take a number of photos from different angles so that you can pick out the photos that show most clearly whatever it is you want to highlight to the insurance company. You may also want to take a video.
Physical evidence that is not preserved soon after an accident can get lost, repaired or destroyed by the weather. That’s why it’s important to get as much information and documentation early on as possible.
Make sure you get the names and telephone numbers of all parties involved. Get the names and telephone numbers of any witnesses. If you can get a witness to write down their witness statement, that is even better.
Collecting this information is vital to prove to the insurance adjuster for the at-fault party that their policyholder or insured was in fact at-fault for causing the accident. An insurance company won’t settle any claims if it does not believe it was at-fault for the accident. Providing tangible physical evidence is the best way to overcome this hurdle and prove your case.
Examples of physical evidence includes:
• Witness statements
• Motor vehicles
• Police reports or incident reports
• Public records such as a driving record
Go to the Accident Scene:
Even in the days and weeks following the accident, it is a good idea to return to the accident scene. You may be surprised at what you missed. Or perhaps you did not have the opportunity to investigate the scene immediately after the accident. Look for any cameras in the area and note their location. Ask store owners in the area if they remember what happened or what they know about the accident.
Prevent the Spoliation of Evidence:
The spoliation of evidence means when the at-fault party intentionally hides or destroys evidence to make it harder for the injured party to prove his or her case.
An attorney can prevent this from happening by sending out a spoliation letter. A spoliation letter tells the at-fault party to preserve certain things, such as the bookshelf that broke or the motor vehicle that caused the accident. This letter makes it harder for the other side to argue the evidence was destroyed accidentally, or in the normal course of business. If for some reason the evidence is destroyed, the attorney can file a spoliation motion and the jury will be instructed by the judge to infer the evidence that was destroyed was harmful to the at-fault party’s case. This is very powerful.
Although anybody can write and send a spoliation letter to another person, the fact evidence can be so easily destroyed demonstrates the importance of hiring an experienced attorney early on in the case to ensure all evidence is preserved and your case is built-up in the best way possible.
Get Witness Statements:
As time goes on, memories fade. That’s why it’s important to get written statements from independent witnesses who saw the accident and can testify later as to how the other party was at-fault for creating the danger and causing the injury you sustained.
Besides solidifying what you already know about how an accident occurred, a witness can also provide new information you did not know. Witnesses can also provide evidence you may have overlooked at the time of the injury. In a car accident, a witness may have seen the at-fault driver texting. In a slip-and-fall case, a witness may have heard the store manager complaining about the spill well before the incident took place. This type of information is essential in obtaining a favorable result.
In addition, witness statements can be used later on during sworn depositions to remind witnesses what they remembered or said earlier on or immediately after the accident.
The Lee Steinberg Law Firm, P.C. are experts in Michigan personal injury law. Let our team of experienced Michigan personal injury attorneys fight for you to get the compensation you deserve.
Please contact us at 1-800-LEE-FREE (1-800-533-3733). The phone call is free and there is no fee unless we win your case.