Physical evidence is the bedrock of a personal injury lawsuit. Without physical evidence, it can be nearly impossible to prove that an accident occurred or to prove the identity of a hit-and-run driver. Physical evidence takes many forms, but we encourage our clients to carefully preserve as much physical evidence as possible. Contact our Conyers car accident lawyer for more information.
Physical Evidence Helps Us Reconstruct the Accident
A key question in all car accident cases is, “Who is at fault for this wreck?” Typically, the party at fault must pay compensation to injured victims. Everything would be easy if drivers just admitted fault, but this is rare. Instead, each side typically points the finger at each other and claims that they were blameless.
Physical evidence can help us “see” how an accident unfolded. For example:
- Skid marks can show that a driver took defensive measures before a crash. They can also help establish the speed a vehicle was traveling. Generally, the longer and deeper the mark, the faster the car was going when it tried to stop.
- Paint transfers can show where the vehicles touched each other. For example, paint from the front right fender of a car could have smeared onto the back left of another vehicle. This paint transfer shows the point of contact.
- The debris field shows the force of the collision. If the headlight of one vehicle is 200 yards down the road, then this shows the force of the impact and can help us determine how fast the vehicles were traveling.
Anything that came off of a vehicle in a collision qualifies as physical evidence. Other physical evidence could include objects in the road that caused a driver to swerve or lose control. For example, a construction company might have left tools or debris in the road. A low-hanging tree branch might have obstructed a stop sign. You can take pictures of these obstructions so that you can prove they existed and contributed to the crash.
Physical Evidence Can Identify the Driver
In a hit-and-run accident, one driver flees the scene without stopping to render aid. Many people flee because they fear being found at fault for the accident, and they might have a poor driving record or lack insurance. Because the driver has fled, it can be difficult to find him or her later. Often, we might use surveillance video or eyewitness testimony to get a license plate number, but physical evidence can also play a part in identification.
For example, a paint transfer tells us the color of the vehicle that struck our client. If there are pieces of glass at the scene, we can match them to the missing pieces on the vehicle. The contour, shape, and opacity of the glass all come into play when trying to make a match. Of course, the person driving the vehicle might have repaired their car, but they often delay doing so.
Preserve Physical Evidence Carefully
If physical evidence disappears, then it is of no use. This is why we encourage motorists to do everything they can to preserve the evidence at the scene of the accident. The best method of preservation depends on the type of evidence.
One way is through taking photographs. This is a good way to view an entire debris field at a glance. You can also photograph skid marks on the road or in the grass. You can also take pictures of any paint smears on your car, though it is best not to get it fixed until an attorney has inspected it. We might find pieces of glass, paint, or other evidence on the vehicle that needs to be preserved. All this will be lost if you quickly go to a body shop for repairs.
At the scene, you can point out evidence to the police officer who arrives at the scene. If the driver fled, then look for any glass on the road and wrap it up in tissue paper so that you don’t smooth or rub-down the edges. You should also check your clothes, which could contain shards of glass, especially if the accident was violent.
Remember to avoid taking something that is not yours. If a construction company left tools on the road, you shouldn’t leave the scene with them. Instead, ask the responding officer if he or she will collect physical evidence. You should also take pictures.
We Will Fight for You
Car accident victims deserve an experienced attorney who can sift through the evidence and find the best pieces to bolster a case. Contact MG Law today. In a free consultation, we can discuss how the accident happened and whether you are entitled to compensation.