How to Gather Evidence to Support Your Car Accident Claim in Massachusetts
Your car accident claim needs evidence to succeed. Evidence can be elusive in some cases and readily available in others. An attorney can help you determine where to find evidence and how to gather it.
A great place to begin gathering evidence is the scene of the accident. Since accident scenes are cleared away by law enforcement rather quickly, the best time to start looking for evidence is right after the crash. Taking some pictures and simply making mental notes of important details may be extremely helpful. Witnesses are also important. In many cases, witness testimony is the backbone of the plaintiff’s claims and is persuasive to a jury. If you have trouble finding evidence, police reports from the crash might shed some light on the situation and guide you to admissible evidence. Exactly how much evidence you need may vary, and your lawyer can help you figure out when you are ready to take your case to the next level.
For help finding evidence and other aspects of your claims, call our Massachusetts personal injury lawyers at the Law Office of John J. Sheehan at (617) 925-6407 to set up a free review of your case.
Gathering Evidence from the Scene of a Car Accident in Massachusetts
You can begin your quest for evidence almost immediately after a crash at the accident scene. If you can, exit your car and take pictures and record videos of everything. No detail is too mundane to record. You never know what might become important later.
Many drivers take pictures and record videos for insurance purposes. Photos of damaged vehicles are often a necessary part of insurance claims. However, these photos may also be used as evidence in a courtroom. For example, suppose the defendant claims they were not speeding when their car collided with yours. The long tire marks on the pavement in your photos might indicate otherwise.
You should also exchange information with the other driver and anyone nearby who might have seen the accident. You need the other driver’s information to begin a legal case with a lawyer. You should obtain contact information from others as they might make excellent witnesses later. Speaking to potential witnesses at the scene is important, as they might not otherwise come forward or be hard to track down later.
If you had one in your car, dashcam videos can be extremely helpful pieces of evidence. They might show important details leading up to the accident or even the accident itself. For example, the defendant might argue that you ran a red light and T-boned them in an intersection. Your dashcam video might show the light at the intersection was green, and the defendant illegally crossed the intersection when the accident happened.
Finding Witnesses to Support Your Car Accident Claims in Massachusetts
Another key piece of evidence you should try to obtain is witness testimony. Witnesses from the accident scene may testify in court about what they saw. In many cases, eyewitness testimony is the highlight of the plaintiff’s evidence and lynchpin to their legal strategy. Many witnesses might be people who were present when the accident happened, while others might have other personal knowledge relevant to your case.
For example, suppose we believe the defendant was intoxicated when the accident occurred, but the police failed to conduct any chemical testing, so there are no blood alcohol concentration (BAS) measurements to prove it. We might track down the bartender who served the defendant alcohol right before the accident and get them to testify.
Finding witnesses can be tricky and is often an ongoing process throughout a case. While we might have a few names and contact information for people who were present at the accident scene, not all of them might have valuable information. Finding additional witnesses can be tricky, and many people are reluctant to come forward. Your lawyer can help you find witnesses and determine if they can help your case.
How Police Reports Can Help You Gather Evidence After a Car Accident in Massachusetts
In some cases, the search for evidence stalls out or has trouble getting off the ground. If evidence is hard to come by, our Beverly, MA car accident lawyers can help you by looking to police reports for guidance.
After a crash, you should have called the police for help. Often, the police will write a report about the crash after an investigation. If the police uncovered any evidence we are not yet aware of, it might be contained within the police report.
For example, the police might have interviewed numerous witnesses at the accident scene while you were transported to the hospital. The police report might contain their statements and their names and contact information. We can use these details to track down these witnesses and see if their testimony can help your case.
One important detail to note is police reports are often considered inadmissible hearsay. You cannot admit the report itself into evidence because police reports are typically based on second-hand information gathered from others. Instead, police reports are often better used as guides to admissible evidence rather than as evidence themselves.
How Much Evidence You Need for a Massachusetts Car Accident Claim
How much evidence you need to support your case effectively depends on your unique situation. You might only need a few key pieces of evidence. Alternatively, you might need a whole library of evidence to prove your claims. The answer to this question depends on how complex your case is, what the defendant admits or denies, and the strength of the evidence.
Some cases are tried with only a few pieces of evidence that are very strong and persuasive. Other cases are tried with many smaller pieces of evidence that come together to form a larger picture of the accident. In any case, having as much evidence as possible is key.
Contact Our Massachusetts Car Accident Lawyers for Help Gathering Evidence
Call our Boston car accident lawyers at the Law Office of John J. Sheehan at (617) 925-6407 to set up a free review of your case and begin looking for evidence to support your claims.