There are over 400,000 personal injury claims filed each year in the United States. Victims of car accidents, medical malpractice, slip and falls, and other incidents where they were injured due to the reckless or negligent acts of another party will often face many hurdles. Whether it comes to seeking the appropriate medical treatment for their injuries, making up for lost wages due to missing work, or other devastating consequences from the initial incident, a personal injury case can help hold the liable party accountable. Proving a personal injury case may require various forms of evidence.
What evidence can help prove your personal injury case? You would be surprised at the different forms of evidence that can be presented in court to further support your claim. Working with a professional personal injury attorney can help you learn more about what evidence is needed to thoroughly support your personal injury case.
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Financial Compensation for Personal Injury Claims in California
Let’s start with the basics. California uses an at-fault system when it comes to handling injury compensation. This means that any injury compensation you seek after an accident must be provided by the liable party. Trying to obtain financial compensation can be done through an insurance claim or lawsuit. Oftentimes, many clients will go through with a lawsuit when the liable party is not cooperative, denies involvement, or other situations.
You need evidence to support the legal grounds of your claim and the amount of money you claim as damages. So what are the types of evidence you need to present to the court to prove another party’s liability in your personal injury claim?
Types of Evidence to Prove a Personal Injury Case
Evidence can come in many forms when it comes to your personal injury case. The most important thing to ensure is that the evidence can prove the existence or non-existence of a fact stated in your claim. Some of the types of evidence most commonly used to prove a personal injury case can include:
Written Evidence (Medical Records, Police Reports, and Accident Reports)
You may be familiar with the phrase “get it in writing”. Written evidence such as medical records, police reports, and accident reports can be presented to support a personal injury claim. Though some written evidence can be constituted as hearsay, there are various exceptions to hearsay that can allow written evidence to be presented in court.
After car accidents and other incidents, many people may not want to call the police or go to the hospital to get checked out for injuries. However, by calling the police and going to your local hospital for a checkup, you are ensuring a written record of the incident and the extent of any injuries. Medical records can also be used to prove an injury occurred, as well as what kind of treatment was needed.
Witness Statements (Written or Oral)
Witness statements can include written or oral testimonies made under oath or during a deposition. Witnesses may have seen the incident unfold that left you with severe injuries and may be able to provide a clear account of the events from a bystander’s point of view. Witness statements may also include those of medical professionals who treated your injuries, or are experts in the field who can provide more context to the cause and extent of your injuries.
Photographs and Video
Some courts and claim adjusters may treat photographs, videos, and other recordings as written evidence. The truth of the matter is that any photographs and/or video obtained from the inciting incident can be vital to prove your personal injury case. For example, photos of your damaged vehicle after a car accident or photos of your injuries after a slip and fall can be extremely helpful when it comes to proving the details of the case.
A demonstration during court can be used as evidence. This would entail you or someone else physically demonstrating something, such as how you slipped during a fall incident or the way your head hit the ground after a bicycle accident. Showing injuries, scars, and/or limited movement from the incident can also constitute as evidence in the form of a demonstration.
Admissible Vs. Inadmissible Evidence
You may have heard talk of admissible and inadmissible evidence. What is the difference between these two, and which can be used to prove your personal injury case?
Admissible evidence can be used in your trial and added to the court’s permanent record. This evidence must be proven to be relevant, authentic, not prejudicial, and not falling under grounds of being inadmissible. Admissible evidence establishes a point put forth by a party to the proceeding.
For example, a photograph of your totaled vehicle after a car accident can prove the point there was a collision. Another example would be if an at-fault driver was intoxicated during a car accident, a DUI citation from the incident would be admissible evidence to provide to the court to prove intoxication and liability.
Inadmissible evidence is evidence that has been proven to be irrelevant, prejudicial, not reliable, or obtained illegally. An example of inadmissible evidence would be presenting an opinion-based testimony from a person who is not present in the court. The matter of opinion and being unable to cross-examine the witness in court make this testimony a piece of inadmissible evidence that will not be used as support for a personal injury case.
What Am I Using This Evidence to Prove?
There are two main things clients are looking to prove in a personal injury case. The first is that the party they are holding accountable is liable for the incident that caused the injury. This means the other party acted negligently or recklessly and caused injury. There are various forms of evidence that can be used to prove this, such as witness statements from bystanders at the scene, police accident reports, and even video proof.
The second thing you are looking to prove in a personal injury case is the damages or value of your losses. This can be presented in the form of written medical bills, repair estimates, pay stubs, and more. There can also be non-economic damages to account for, such as the impact of the injuries on your lifestyle, mental anguish, and pain.
What Does A Personal Injury Lawyer Do with My Evidence?
Now you may wonder, what is the role of the personal injury lawyer when it comes to evidence in proving your personal injury case? An expert personal injury lawyer will work tirelessly to gather the necessary evidence to prove your claims. They may work with you, your doctors, other experts, and even private investigators to obtain the right evidence that can be presented in court.
It is up to you to pick a personal injury lawyer with years of experience in the field, one that will work hard to gather the right admissible and relevant evidence to support your claim. An efficient and skilled personal injury lawyer will make sure to go above and beyond to present all the evidence in court and ensure your claim is heard.