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Preserve Evidence and Take Photos

Nobody wants to get hurt, but sometimes it happens. If you're involved in an auto accident that someone else's carelessness caused, preserving any physical evidence of the incident and your injuries can help support your position in a personal injury case.

Gather evidence as soon as possible after the incident. Circumstances can change quickly. Accident scenes get altered. Memories can become unreliable, and evidence can get overlooked or misplaced over time.

This article is about what evidence is necessary for different types of accidents.

What Should You Keep?

The first step to protect evidence of your injury is to preserve every physical item. This includes torn clothing, broken equipment, and essential documents. Here are some steps to take after some common injuries:

Motor Vehicle Accidents

After a car accident, you should take photos from different angles of the scene. Photograph any visible injuries and any property damage. Snap photos of any skid marks on the road. Get witness statements from any bystanders who might have seen the accident. Get photos of the other driver's license plates and jot down their phone number.

Get copies of all medical records and medical bills about your treatment after the accident. Keep copies of property damage estimates. Keep all receipts and documents related to repairs. Get a copy of any police report from the scene of the accident.

Closed-circuit television (CCTV) surveillance from nearby stores may also have captured the car crash. It might be necessary to get the footage captured by such CCTV feeds.

Defective Consumer Products

If you suffer an injury from a faulty product, such as a household appliance, preserve the item in the same condition it was when the incident happened. Keep all written instructions, warnings, labels, and packaging with the thing and give them to a personal injury lawyer.

Try to locate the original sales receipt. If you can't find the receipt in your records, ask the seller if they have a copy or get a copy from your online bank records.

Medical Malpractice and Birth Injuries

In a medical malpractice or birth injury case, keep or get copies of all medical records related to the medical treatment at issue and those related to any second or third opinions from other health care providers. Also, in cases where a physical injury is visible, take photos that depict any evidence of potentially improper medical treatment.

A Picture Is Worth ...

Remember that preserving physical evidence itself may not always be possible in every case involving an accident or injury. For example, the main causes of a "slip and fall" incident may be uneven pavement on a sidewalk, the absence of a handrail, or insufficient lighting in a stairway. In these situations, your best option is to take clear and detailed photographs of the area where the injury happened from several angles, ideally under the same environmental conditions as when the accident or injury took place. Try to capture photos at the same time of day, with the same kind of lighting, and with the same kind of weather as the time of the accident or injury.

The Bottom Line

Though doing these things may be the last thing on your mind soon after a traumatic experience, these actions can help you should you decide to pursue a legal claim for your injuries. If you can't act quickly due to injuries or medical treatment, ask a loved one or close friend to help you follow these suggestions.

Seek Legal Advice From a Personal Injury Attorney

Preserving evidence and taking photographs of your injuries and property damage is only one step in the accident claim process. An experienced personal injury attorney will be able to analyze the evidence you've gathered and determine whether you have a legitimate insurance claim against the party liable for your accident.

Protect your interests. Contact a personal injury attorney from a reputable law office today.

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