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Preserving Evidence Following a Collision

I’m David Holub, an attorney focusing on personal injury law in northwest Indiana.

Welcome to Personal Injury Primer, where we break down the law into simple terms, provide legal tips, and discuss topics related to personal injury law.

Today’s question comes from a listener who would said “you see all these criminal shows on TV focusing on crime scene investigations and preserving evidence from a crime scene, is it important in an auto accident case to preserve evidence after the crash? “

Absolutely yes. Preserving evidence following a collision is critical.

And whether you recover from that collision financially and whether you recover the total amount that you’re entitled to recover legally will depend upon the evidence of the collision and the facts that are preserved.

  • It’s important to promptly locate witnesses.
  • It’s important to get measurements of skid marks.
  • It’s important to do all the photographing that is normally done following an accident.

Now, on the more serious accidents many police departments take photographs, but we’ve found that in many occasions on the smaller accidents the police don’t take photographs. And additionally, there has been an effort to financially cut back on some of the police departments and so sending a crew out to take photographs is often very rare these days.

You should speak to a lawyer about specific advice, but in general we would suggest a couple of things.

  • Keep everything pertaining to your case, including police reports, medical bills, medical records that you’re given, in a box or a grocery bag, or something in your house so it’s segregated away from any other papers and so that it doesn’t get lost or thrown away.
  • Get photos of the vehicle, not just yours, but any vehicle involved in the collision as soon as possible, and preserve those photographs. Photos taken from a smartphone camera may not be great, but they are often better than nothing, but we’ve found that a lot of people who take their own photographs don’t photograph the right thing. For example, they get up very close to a vehicle and show marks and dents, but it’s important to also get a photo of the vehicle at a distance, so the damage can be seen in perspective with the rest of the vehicle.
  • We also tell people to follow the advice of their doctors and to work hard to regain their health. This may seem like advice that doesn’t need to be given, but a lot of people, for whatever reason, do not follow their doctor’s advice or cut corners and try to cut costs hoping to just get better on their own. Not surprisingly, people that cut corners, and who do not follow their doctor’s advice, end up taking longer to heal than otherwise would be the case.

As the listener noted, we’ve all watched TV shows, especially the criminal shows, focusing on crime scene investigations and preserving evidence from a crime scene.

It’s just as important in an auto accident case to preserve evidence, get photographs, and document exactly what happened.

I hope you found this information helpful. If you have questions about your legal rights if you get hurt due to the carelessness of another person, or as a result of substandard medical care, or due to a product defect, construction injury, or any other type of personal injury, please give us a call at (219) 736-9700. You can also learn more about us by visiting our website at DavidHolubLaw.com – while there make sure you request a copy of our book “Fighting for Truth”.