Personal injury claims aren’t always easy to prove. But they can be – especially if you collect plenty of evidence.
Fault is the main point of disagreement in just about every personal injury claim.
If the defending party can show you were at least partially responsible for your injuries, or that they’re not responsible at all, that reduces what they have to pay, and hopefully gets them down to zero (from their perspective).
So, it’s important for you to show that the other party was 100% responsible for your injuries.
Did you know that process begins the moment you’re injured?
Yes, you have some responsibility for proving fault too.
Here’s how it works:
You Can’t Take Enough Notes Or Photos
The moment you’re injured, photograph the scene of the car accident thoroughly with your smartphone. If you can’t do it, have someone else at the scene do it for you. People are eager to help if you ask.
You literally cannot take enough photos. Make sure they are as clear and convincing as possible. Shoot a video of the scene and do a walk-through of how it happened from your best recollection. The worst that can happen is your lawyer says not to use the video or certain photos.
With your notes, you again want to be as thorough as possible. Remember, juries and judges believe that people who tell the truth are thorough and clear.
At the scene, get phone numbers, names, and addresses of all witnesses. Write down every detail you can remember from the accident too. Or do a voice recording on your smartphone if you’re not a great writer.
Going forward, you want to keep a daily journal of your experiences related to your injury. Write down names of doctors and nurses, your understanding of what they communicate to you, as well as your own experiences of pain, the emotions surrounding it, and the difficulty it causes in your life.
Keep copies of all medical bills, police reports, and medical records. Your lawyer can get copies, if necessary, but you’ll save time and move your case along faster if you get these now.
You should also get copies of work attendance from your employer showing how much time you missed from work.
Now Your Work’s Done – Here’s What the Injury Lawyer Does
Here’s what we have to show through a “preponderance of the evidence” (that it’s more likely than not the defendant caused your injuries):
- That the defendant owed you a duty of care
- They breached that duty of care
- Their breach caused the harm that happened to you
- That injuries happened resulting in damages that need to be paid for
Based on the evidence surrounding your claim, your lawyer now has to do their work. They may interview people involved, hire experts (especially true in medical malpractice claims), and review physical evidence from the accident scene.
They may have to defeat defenses like:
- Comparative fault – Figuring out how much fault each party has in your claim if multiple parties are involved
- Assumption of risk – That you were aware certain injuries could happen in a given situation
- Trespasser defense – Texas land owners are generally not responsible for your injuries if you trespass on their land (but they would be if they were grossly negligent or engaged in willful or wanton misconduct)
About 90% of cases settle out of court. And having a personal injury lawyer who knows how to defeat the opposition’s arguments is key to getting a fair legal outcome.
Shane V. Mullen is an attorney licensed by the State of Texas for the general practice of law, and the Managing Partner at Mullen & Mullen Law Firm in Dallas, TX. His firm focuses exclusively on personal injury law and has been in business for 40 years. Before becoming a lawyer, Shane worked for his father as an accident injury claims investigator.