What Evidence Should Be Preserved After a Crash?
When safely possible, immediately take pictures of the car accident scene before the car are moved (if possible). This may include pictures showing:
- Damage to the vehicles involved
- Positioning of the vehicles involved
- Traffic signs, lights, signals or landmarks
- Obstructions on the roadway
- Roadway conditions
- Weather Conditions
- Visibility conditions
Once you leave the scene, the vehicles could get moved around and debris could be cleaned up.
|Taking pictures right after the crash allows you to have an unbiased record of what the scene looked like right after the accident.|
Can Photos of An Accident Help Prove Who Is At Fault?
Yes, photos may help establish which car caused the crash by the final resting positions of the vehicles involved, which would otherwise be erased by a cleanup crew. These positions may corroborate your position of how the accident happened. Pictures of the conditions on the road may also help determine whether the accident was weather-related or caused by low visibility, poor roadway maintenance or debris on the road. Weather changes, skies clear and debris can be picked up by others, but photos should help preserve what things looked like at the time of the crash.
Other than photos, what other options are available to preserve evidence?
Police reports and witness statements are also useful tools. When photos are not an option, whether that be because you were knocked unconscious, taken to the hospital, or were otherwise unable to take pictures, the police report from responding officers may also help preserve these things.
In 2016, I wrote a blog post about what evidence to preserve after an auto accident. Any photos or videos of the accident or the damage. Take pictures or video before you move the cars or leave the area of the fall (if safe to do so).
- The names (and phone numbers) of any witnesses to the accident or its aftermath.
- Any clothing that you were wearing during the accident which has evidence of your injuries on it (i.e. blood, bruises, marks or other damage).
- Any damaged personal property that was in the vehicle and damaged by the accident.
- Write down any statements the other party said about the accident
Are Florida Crash Reports Admissible into Evidence?
No, crash reports (accident reports) are not admissible into evidence in Florida under Florida’s Accident Report Privilege, Florida Statute 316.066. What this means is that the at-fault party can admit 100% liability, texting, speeding, cutting off others, etc and none of this is admissible into the trial. Hence, the reason why we recommend getting witness names and contact information and PHOTOS OF THE ACCIDENT SCENE!
Most police reports mention visibility conditions, where vehicles came to a final rest and where the damage occurred. But police reports may also go further than your pictures do, as police officers may also document conversations with witnesses and people involved in the crash. This will assist the insurance companies accept or deny liability. If impairment, speed or some other violation of the law occurred, the police officer should include this information in his or her report as evidence.
What Are The Benefits of Preserving Evidence After a Car Crash?
Not only is gathering the evidence necessary, but it is also important to keep and preserve it for when you need to present it to the liable party when demanding compensation.
How Does Preserving Evidence Help My Case?
When you file a claim for compensation after an accident, you need to establish that your damages were a result of the negligent actions of the liability insurance company’s insured driver.
This means that you must provide evidence showing that a driver acted negligently and caused a crash, and this crash directly resulted in your damages. Evidence such as a police report, pictures of the damage to your vehicle and medical records attributing your injuries to the accident would strongly benefit your case for compensation.
The insurance company’s investigation will likely take time, so having the evidence to prove negligence long after the accident is vital, as you may need to make it available during the discovery process of a case if a lawsuit is filed. If the case goes to trial, you will also need to show the evidence to a jury.
Tampa Car Accident Lawyer | Tampa Personal Injury Attorney
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