Evidence After an Accident
Nov. 4, 2022
There is a burden of proof to be met in virtually every insurance claim and civil lawsuit arising out of a car accident. Proof of fault and documentation of injuries and related expenses are required before any insurance company will pay a claim and before any judge and jury will render a verdict.
Proving who caused an accident and how can be a formidable and technical task. In Kansas, driver inattention, failure to yield, driving too fast for conditions, and following too closely rank as the four most common driver-caused reasons for crashes. In Missouri, following too close, improper lane usage, failure to yield, and distracted driving take top billing.
In the aftermath of an accident, different accounts of what occurred will emerge. It will be the evidence that determines who is liable for damages and injuries and the value of an injury victim’s claim.
At Grover Law Firm, LLC, we know not only the importance of gathering evidence following a crash, but how to gather what we need to prove or disprove fault and build a claim for compensation. We have delivered for hundreds of clients in Overland Park, Kansas, and throughout Kansas and Missouri, including Independence, Liberty, Shawnee, Olathe, and Kansas City.
What Should I Do Right After an Accident?
The evidence you can gather in the immediate aftermath of an accident can be crucial to your claim. It is also the most difficult time to gather it. You may be too seriously injured to do anything other than receive treatment at the scene. Even if your injuries are minor, you may be in a state of shock, experiencing confusion and the adrenaline rush that commonly occurs as a result of such a traumatic event.
If you are physically capable and can do so safely, here are some things you can do while you’re at the scene:
Call 911 to report the crash. The dispatcher will know which law enforcement branch to send and will dispatch first responders and others to the scene. Law enforcement will investigate the crash, take statements from those involved and any witnesses, and complete an official crash report you can use as evidence later.
Take photos of the vehicles involved, damage to them, and their license plates. Also capture the surrounding area, the people involved and their injuries, and the roadway and debris. Since most people carry mobile phones with them, taking photos can be easy, so long as you aren’t seriously injured.
Write down the name, contact information, and insurance details of the other driver. Also gather the names and contact information for any witnesses to the incident, including involved passengers and non-involved motorists, passengers, pedestrians, and others.
Contact your insurance company to report the accident. Your adjuster will open a claim and assign a claim number.
You should seek immediate medical treatment, even if you don’t think you are injured or are not sure. That adrenaline rush can mask injuries, and some injuries are not readily apparent. Because it will be vital to have medical documentation relating the cause of your injuries to the crash, you need to be examined by a doctor.
If the other driver was at fault, contact their insurance company to file a third-party claim. The driver’s insurance company may open both a personal injury claim and a property damage claim, so make sure you write down both claim numbers and the adjusters’ contact information. This step is better handled by your car accident attorney if you retain one.
What Evidence Should I Collect Later?
The next evidence you should collect is necessary for recovering expenses related to the damages you suffered. Getting the car repaired will cost money; be sure to keep good documentation of this. You should request and maintain copies of all medical records for treatment you receive after the crash and copies of all medical bills resulting from the accident. You should also keep copies of documents providing evidence of lost wages you may suffer by not being able to work due to your injuries.
Copies of your medical bills and lost wages documentation are necessary to prove the extent of your economic damages. Copies of your medical records lend proof to both your economic and non-economic damages, such as disfigurement, disability, and pain and suffering.
Why Is All This Evidence Important?
The evidence you can collect substantiates your claim for compensation from the insurance company, either from settlement of your claim or by jury award in a trial.
Because Kansas is a no-fault state for auto accidents, evidence is crucial. As a no-fault state, your personal injury protection (PIP) coverage is the first to pay for your medical expenses, lost wages, and other damages. However, if your injuries rise to a level that exceeds your coverage, you may be able to recover damages in a third-party liability claim.
Missouri is an at-fault state, so the person responsible for the crash is financially responsible for your damages. Establishing fault is vital and can only be done through the evidence. Moreover, Missouri is a pure comparative fault state. Your recovery can be reduced by any percentage of fault assigned to you for a crash. It will be the evidence that proves how much fault you're assigned.
The Importance of Talking to an Attorney
If you are overwhelmed by the evidentiary burden you bear in a personal injury claim, you are not alone. At Grover Law Firm, LLC, we are not overwhelmed because we gather evidence for clients in Overland Park, Kansas, and throughout Missouri and Kansas, every single day. Investigating your crash, gathering evidence, and building your claim or court case is how we serve our clients.
If you have been in a car accident caused by someone else’s negligence, there is no time to delay. Call our office now to schedule a free case consultation.