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Evidence Gathering Tips for Vehicle Collision Lawsuits

When faced with a terrible car accident, the last thing your family wishes to worry about is fighting in court. So this is where trained legal professionals can step in. These are expert injury attorneys who can take on the negligent party or parties on your behalf.

In these types of claims, you're fighting defendants, municipalities, or making an insurance claim. So the evidence is vital to victory.

When injured in such a case, having someone to collect and preserve evidence is vital. The skilled attorneys at Ehline Law have the tools and experience necessary to do so. So they can help solve your car accident woes.

Table of Contents:

Evidence is What Helps You Build and Strengthen the Injury Claim

What is evidence? As defined by the Oxford English Dictionary, evidence is:
the available body of facts or information indicating whether a belief or proposition is true or valid:the study finds little evidence of overt discrimination
  • Law information drawn from personal testimony, a document, or a material object, used to establish facts in a legal investigation or admissible as testimony in a law court:without evidence, they can’t bring a charge
  • signs or indications of something:there was no obvious evidence of a break-in (Oxford)
  • When faced with such situations, only legal experts can construct the body of evidence. So this is what needs to get submitted to the court. Evidence accrual leads to documents and powerful information.

    Then this will get used in court as admissible. Hence, now the plaintiff has evidence to prove or disprove contentions.

    Example of Probative Value and Prejudicial Effect

    An example can be to prove that a driver involved in a vehicle accident was DWI. A DUI or DWI conviction could get used as evidence. Most pertinent here, a judge can deem liability has already gotten agreed upon. So now all the parties are arguing over is some damages.

    Furthermore, in such a case, a judge may find DWI evidence is too prejudicial. So in other words, the inflammatory effect can outweigh any probative value to prove the case.

    All the parties are arguing now is that the victim got injured and the other driver was the cause. It is not ultimately the defendant or plaintiff’s role to assume things about evidence. The rules say that some evidence will eventually be admissible or inadmissible at trial. As seen in Greyhound Corp. v. Superior Court, the discovery phase in the state of California is a so-called fishing expedition. Most of all, this is ultimately allowed in a civil case.

    Some Inadmissible Evidence Leads to Admissible Evidence

    Because of this, evidence that a court may deem inadmissible could still become allowed in a civil discovery matter. So it's allowed if it tends to prove or disprove the existence of other evidence. Perhaps the other evidence could eventually come to trial. Also, victims must demonstrate the truth of the matter asserted to win.

    They are allowed to fish for evidence so they can do just that. For example, car crash victims often get escorted away in an ambulance. So discoverable evidence could include a Traffic Collision Investigation Report. Although usually it gets considered hearsay at trial.

    But it could lead to witnesses and to refresh said witnesses’ memories. For example, the EMT could be sought out and called as a witness. Also, this is true, even though the report itself may not come in at trial. So almost all evidence is relevant unless privileged or confidential for civil discovery. Also, as seen in Greyhound Corp. v. Superior Court (1961) 56 Cal. 2d 355, both parties have compelling reasons to find and produce as much evidence as possible.

    Evidence Gathering in a Car Accident Case

    The evidence collection process begins immediately after the incident, especially in a car crash. The victim could work with police on the scene. Also, this plaintiff can gather statements and create a record of the incident.

    Of course, many victims of vehicle wrecks get severely injured. So often they got wasted and escorted away in an ambulance. The ride to the hospital is vital to prove injury. Furthermore, without this evidence, an insurance company’s adjuster will try to claim the victim is faking it.

    Evidence Comes in Many Forms

    Evidence can take many forms, including witness statements, medical records, prescription bills. Also, it includes photos of injuries and videos of how the accident affected daily life. Some of these shots can get taken at the crash scene.

    So pictures of the vehicles themselves, or the people involved creating a link in the chain of evidence. Even pictures of the victim at the hospital can come into evidence. Evidence can also get extracted from official documents, such as police reports. These items can build the credibility and foundation of your case.

    So all of this can meet the threshold of evidence to win the case. But getting injured as a legal novice makes victims usually unable to carry out investigations. So this is where a skilled legal authority can step in and work on these issues on behalf of their clients.

    The best evidence is that which shows the responsibility of the other party. Typically, the driver, the owner of the vehicle, the car or truck manufacturer, the product defect, or another valuable artifice. Also, this can show the other party’s action or inaction that caused such an injury. Having a doctor’s record that documents your injuries are vital to prove the time, place, and extent of the harm inflicted.

    When a Party Refuses to Produce Relevant Evidence - Sanctions

    Almost everything can be evidence during the discovery phase of civil proceedings. Because of this, it can lead to other evidence that would normally be admissible at trial. There are cases when a party that refuses to produce evidence that proves or disproves claims or defense. In these cases, the could be no full resolution until a petition or appeal becomes realized.

    Still, a party can motion to compel and seek sanctions from a court of law against the party improperly withholding evidence. Furthermore, this is because that evidence could show an individual’s honesty, character, or liability.

    Also, this includes evidence that one party has a fraudulent claim. But this can be a long, complicated process that will require a skilled lawyer to convince a judge to force that party to comply and apply a sanction.

    The First Step Is to Informally “Meet and Confer.”

    As in many jurisdictions, Los Angeles and wider California courts require that the parties must informally confer. This can get done in person, through phone calls, letters, faxes, and other methods to prove that the party seeking discovery made a good faith attempt to resolve the case before requesting court involvement. One issue that comes up is unverified discovery response, where documents are sent to a party and not verified– which must get done under penalty of perjury.

    Courts have ruled that this constitutes “no response at all,” as seen in Appleton v. Superior Court (Cook) (1988) 206 Cal. App. 3d 632. Newly minted attorneys can miss this vital step and fail to meet the burden of proof at trial. Seeking sanctions can also lead to complicated proceedings, as the authorized party will be angered and refuse to settle without a jury trial. A skilled lawyer can avoid that and settle out of court.

    Sometimes Inadmissible Evidence Can Lead to Other Evidence That is Admissible

    Other evidence, including that of a past crime, could be found in cases like this. Normally these things may not be admissible in a civil or criminal case.

    But this could lead to information regarding witnesses or accomplices who could have information leading to other admissible evidence. There could also be issues where defendants’ action or inaction made injuries worse. Examples include medical malpractice or defective products.

    Call a Car Accident Lawyer at Ehline Law Firm Personal Injury Attorneys APLC to Learn More

    When faced with such an incident and the aftermath, having an experienced attorney is important. You want to hire someone who is second to none. Our firm has settled hundreds of cases for our clients. Call ELF Personal Injury Attorneys today for a free, no-pressure consultation at (888) 400-9721. Hablamos Espanol.

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