When you have a Nevada personal injury case, evidence is key to proving that your claims are valid. It’s how the court decides who to believe, and it’s how the court determines the extent of your damages. In an injury case, you present evidence to meet your burden of proof and win your case.
Although presenting the right evidence is crucial to ensuring a successful outcome in your injury case, one often overlooked aspect regarding evidence is the need to preserve it. It’s important to know what steps you should take to protect evidence after sustaining injuries in an accident to ensure you have enough to prove that your version of events is accurate.
How Does Evidence Affect the Case?
When you’re hurt after an accident, evidence can help the jury reach the right result quickly. It can even help you resolve your case without a trial. If the other party reluctantly acknowledges that you have a strong case, they’re more likely to be willing to offer you a fair settlement before trial.
If they don’t believe you’ve done the work to build the evidence in your case, they might decide to roll the dice in hopes that they can confuse the jury and get away with paying you less than you deserve. Here are seven tips for preserving evidence in your Las Vegas personal injury case.
1. Write It Down
After your injury occurs, the details of the event might be clear in your mind. Although you may think you could never forget the details of something so impactful, memories can fade over time. Additionally, an aspect that you might not believe is necessary may be critical later on.
Your best bet is to take some time as soon as you can to jot down all of the details you can think of. This account of the event will be a great starting point for your attorney to begin piecing together the details and building your case.
2. Ask Others to Write It Down
Just like your memory can fade, witnesses can also suffer a memory lapse as time passes. It’s essential to lock witnesses into their story as soon as possible. Getting them on the record prevents them from changing their story, and it makes sure you record the details before they can forget things that may be helpful to you.
How you should go about getting witness statements on the record depends on the circumstances of the case. A cooperative witness might sit down and give you a written narrative of events. If a witness doesn’t want to participate, you can send them a notice to conduct a formal deposition. If the other side has an opportunity to cross-examine the witness, you may be able to admit the witness’ deposition testimony at trial.
3. Inspect the Scene
A personal injury case often centers around the scene of the accident. The scene itself may have valuable information that can show your version of events is both plausible and probable. For example, if you’re injured because of a faulty handrail on a steep flight of stairs, you may need to revisit the accident scene to inspect the handrail as well as the rise and run of the stairs.
If you’re the victim of an auto accident, returning to the scene can help you examine the road’s design to determine the specifics of how the crash likely occurred including considering things like vehicle speed and trajectory. You may work with an accident reconstruction professional to interpret the clues that you find at the accident scene.
4. Take Photos
Photos can go a long way to convince the jury that your version of events is correct. You don’t need to be a professional photographer or have a professional camera to take photos that are valuable to your case.
A few photos with your smartphone can do the trick. Take pictures of the accident scene, and any equipment involved. Don’t forget to take photos of your injuries, and update those photos as your injuries heal. These images can help jurors get a better understanding of your pain.
5. Journal Your Injuries
Medical appointments and bills can be hard to keep track of following an injury. It’s important to document your treatment, your care plan, and your progress. Use a journal to record your appointments, expenses of any kind, and your pain levels.
Keep copies of all of your medical bills and explanations of benefits. Be forthcoming about your injuries and pain, but don’t exaggerate. This record keeping can be critical to help you put your case together later on.
6. Don’t Wait
When you lose time, you lose evidence. The accident scene may not look the same even a short time from now. A party may be quick to want to change things to conceal valuable evidence. Witnesses can move away or forget important things. There are even time limits to pursue a claim for your injury losses.
These are all great reasons to begin collecting evidence immediately. The more evidence you can gather right away, the more things you have to go on to build a strong case. It’s better to have too much evidence than not enough, and your attorney can give you helpful instructions to go about gathering the evidence that you need to build your case.
7. Evaluate Spoliation of Evidence
Of course, the other side may not be thrilled about your efforts to build your case. In fact, they might try to destroy evidence to stop you from revealing the truth.
This is called spoliation of evidence. If it happens, Nevada law allows you to point it out to the jury. They can presume that the evidence would be in your favor if the other side had produced it.
Winning the Evidence Game
It’s vital to remember that cases are won and lost based on evidence. Putting in the time and effort to tediously build each piece of evidence can mean the difference between a great recovery and no recovery at all.
An experienced Las Vegas personal injury attorney can help you gather evidence and use it to reach the best possible resolution of your case. They can help you determine the actions to take to protect all available evidence and can offer expert advice about how each piece of evidence can boost your chances of getting the compensation you need to make a full recovery.