What evidence do I need with a personal injury claim?
With any personal injury legal action, the onus is on you to prove that another person’s action – or inaction – caused you harm. You deserve compensation for those injuries, but proving what happened and the extent of your damages can be difficult. While every incident is different, here is some general advice about gathering evidence for a personal injury claim.
There is a lower threshold of proof that must be met
In a criminal trial, the Crown must prove the accused is guilty “beyond a reasonable doubt.” If there is that degree of doubt, the judge or jury cannot convict. In civil courts where personal injury claims are heard, the threshold that must be met is a “balance of probabilities,” a standard that is much lower. In other words, if the plaintiff can prove that their facts tip the scale in their favour even by only a small percentage, the judgment will be in their favour.
Accident and police reports are vital
Many personal injuries are the result of auto accidents. If the collision is serious enough, police are often the first responders on scene. They are trained to collect evidence, including witness statements. Our lawyers will obtain a copy of the police report from the officer or the collision reporting centre. These reports are highly detailed and include the position of the vehicles, speed, and any other factors relevant to the accident.
In some cases, the driver who caused the accident will be charged with a criminal offence. If they are convicted, that verdict is not determinative of liability in the civil context, but it is persuasive.
Medical records document injury
If you seek care from a hospital, therapist, psychologist or other medical professional after a personal injury, we will gather all relevant medical reports generated by these visits. These documents will be essential in showing the extent of your injuries. It may also be helpful to obtain medical records from your primary care physician to prove you were healthy before the accident. You should also keep all the medical bills, prescriptions and receipts related to your recovery.
Ask your doctor for a medical note, attesting to your injuries and why they will prevent you from returning to your place of employment until you have healed. Having your family practitioner on your side is vitally important with a personal injury claim.
Photographs can reinforce your version of events
With almost any personal injury – such as a car accident or a slip and fall – photos taken as soon as possible after the event can be invaluable. After an auto collision, the camera in your cellphone can document the extent of damage to your vehicle, as well as road conditions and other relevant circumstances.
If you slip and fall on ice or another hazard on someone’s property, take photos on the conditions that led to your fall. If you wait, the person responsible for that unsalted sidewalk you slipped on may have taken steps to bring it up to an acceptable level of maintenance. Take photos from different angles along with a video of the scene as you describe the conditions that contributed to your injuries.
Try to find witnesses
If anyone was in the area of your accident, ask them for their full name and contact information. They can provide the court with an unbiased description of what happened. Ask them to write down their statement or record their observations on your phone, since memories fade with time.
Gather physical evidence
Physical evidence is something tangible that you can see or touch. Examples might be a dent in a car, a damaged bicycle, skid or gouge marks on the pavement or torn clothing. Take control of any physical evidence as soon as possible after an accident before it is lost and repaired or destroyed. Anything that could be used to pinpoint liability and show what happened should be preserved.
Write down what happened
As soon as possible after the incident, make physical notes about what happened and the conditions that led to your injury. Your description of the event will help your personal injury lawyer understand how the injury occurred.
AFTER AN ACCIDENT, CONTACT US
A personal injury lawyer can help guide you through your options and help you obtain the compensation you need to help you recover from any injuries. They can also make sure that your insurance company does not attempt to limit the compensation that you are owed. Schedule your Free Consultation by calling (403) 452-2011 or send a message to firstname.lastname@example.org. We will represent you on a contingency fee basis, so we do not get paid for our time and attention until we settle.