The outcome of a car accident case rests largely on the strength of the evidence both sides present. Even if the liable insurance company agrees to settle the claim rather than go to trial, strong arguments are key to maximizing the value of the payout. So, what advice do the best accident lawyers in Houston, TX have for people who need to seek compensation?
Ask a Car Accident Lawyer: What Pieces of Evidence Can Help You Build a Strong Claim?
When you submit a claim to an insurance company, it pays to be deliberate about how you collect evidence to support your demands. Accident attorneys are highly familiar with the types of evidence that can persuade the insurance company to accept your claim. With strong evidence, you may even be able to increase your settlement offer.
The circumstances surrounding every accident are different, so you don’t need to be concerned if you are not able to leverage all of the types of evidence discussed in this article. Your lawyer can help you identify the kinds of evidence that will be most applicable to your case.
Photos and Videos
Whether you file a personal injury lawsuit or settle with the insurance company, images depicting the scene of the accident can help you demonstrate that the other driver was at fault. The images can also indicate the severity of the damages you sustained. Most images are acceptable, including amateur footage shot on your smartphone.
If you are not physically able to document the crash or if you did not have your phone on you at the time of the accident, you can use images taken by others. Surveillance footage can also be helpful when it is available, especially if it shows the accident occurring in real-time.
The term physical evidence refers to the actual objects that were involved in the crash. The most important examples of physical evidence will likely be the cars that were damaged. They can be used by accident reconstruction experts and other specialists to clarify how the accident happened.
If necessary, your lawyer may be able to demand that the other vehicle be kept intact in its current condition until your case is resolved. Taking steps to preserve evidence can help prevent the other side from destroying any objects that could strengthen your case.
Your Medical Records
If you were injured in the accident, the liable driver must pay for your medical expenses and other losses. Your medical records can indicate how much money is needed to cover:
- Your ambulance ride
- Your stay at the ER
- The diagnostic tests, X-rays, and other imaging you underwent
- Past and future treatments
- Follow-up appointments
- At-home medical equipment or help
Additionally, your medical records can help create a causal link between the injuries you sustained and the accident. Demonstrating this link is a necessary component of winning a personal injury case. Because so much evidence depends on your medical records, it is very important to visit the ER immediately after the accident, even if you do not feel injured.
If anyone saw the accident taking place, their testimony could be valuable to your case. Before you leave the scene of the crash, try to exchange contact information with any bystanders. You could even ask them to give recorded statements on your smartphone.
When building arguments for your case, your attorney might seek out the testimonies of expert witnesses. In court, an expert witness is a specialist who is qualified to weigh in on the case. For example, if you needed to prove that you were owed $2,000,000 for reduced earning capacity, your lawyer might bring in an economist who could predict what your salary would have been ten years from now if not for the accident.
The previously-mentioned forms of evidence can be useful for determining fault and ascertaining the extent of the losses in most car accident cases. Depending on how your accident occurred and what kinds of damages you are pursuing, your lawyer may also recommend utilizing one or more of the following forms of evidence:
Subpoenaed Records From the Other Driver’s Phone Company
Many accidents are caused by distracted drivers. In Texas, it is illegal to send or receive any kind of electronic message while driving. If you can show that the other driver was texting at the time of the crash, you will have stronger grounds to argue that the accident was caused by his or her negligence.
Several forms of evidence can demonstrate distracted driving, including witness testimonies and surveillance footage showing the other driver holding his or her phone. Your lawyer may also subpoena records from the other driver’s phone company. These records could indicate whether the other driver sent or received a text message moments before the crash.
A Positive Breathalyzer or Drug Test
Driving while intoxicated is considered a form of gross negligence. If you can show that the other driver was under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the crash, you may be eligible to receive punitive damages in addition to compensation for your losses.
Drivers that are found guilty of a DUI are subject to criminal penalties that are separate from their liability to pay for your damages. A positive breathalyzer or drug test is usually a key piece of evidence in a DUI case.
Records Pertaining to a Preexisting Condition
If you have a preexisting condition, the other driver’s legal team or the liable insurance company may try to use it to weaken your case by saying that your injuries predate the accident. In Texas, you have the right to recover compensation for any injury that resulted from the accident, including aggravation to a preexisting condition.
Your medical records can help demonstrate that while you had a preexisting condition, your compensation will go towards treating injuries that you would not have sustained if the accident hadn’t happened. It is especially important for people with preexisting conditions to go to the ER on the same day the crash occurs so that their medical records can show a clear contrast between the state of their health before and after the accident.
Finding the Best Accident Lawyers in Houston, TX
After a car accident, gathering evidence to demonstrate your eligibility for compensation is a job best undertaken with the guidance of an experienced attorney who is highly familiar with courtroom protocols and insurance company practices. Our lawyers are here to help you build strong, winning arguments that can yield a sizeable settlement offer.
For information that is specific to your case, schedule a free consultation with one of our accident lawyers in Houston, TX. The consultation is a good opportunity to review the potential sources of evidence and assess the viable strategies available to you.
Strong Arguments Serve Justice
No one should have to pay for an accident they didn’t cause because their arguments weren’t strong enough to overcome the defense. To speak with an attorney who will fight for a just outcome, contact Abraham, Watkins, Nichols, Agosto, Aziz & Stogner.