If a negligent driver caused your car, truck, motorcycle, or other motor vehicle accident, you're entitled to compensation for your injuries under Kansas and Missouri law. However, even if the other motorist’s fault is clear-cut, it may be harder than you think to get the insurance company to agree to a fair settlement.
You'll need to prove the driver’s negligence, the seriousness of your injuries, and the amount of damages you should receive if you want to win your case. How do you do this? You collect evidence that proves all the elements of your case.
10 Types of Evidence You Need to Gather
Evidence is the building block for a winning motor vehicle collision claim. You can never have enough documentation that supports your claim against the at-fault driver. Here are the most common types of evidence useful to victims in these cases.
You should call the police at the crash scene and obtain a copy of the officer’s police report. It can provide helpful information that convinces the insurance company of its insured’s fault in causing the collision, such as:
- Contact information for the other motorist, their insurance company, and witnesses to the wreck
- Statements from the driver and witnesses
- Details of how the accident occurred
- Officer’s conclusions about the cause of the accident
- Any traffic citations issued
Photographs can also help establish how the crash occurred. Take pictures with your cellphone of the damage to the vehicles, your injuries, weather and road conditions, skid marks, and anything else that would be helpful. An attorney can also use photos to paint a vivid picture of the seriousness of your accident at a jury trial.
It's crucial to obtain the contact information for any witnesses to your collision. Their statements and testimony can corroborate how the crash occurred and be especially persuasive if they don't know you and have no stake in the outcome of your clam.
Event Data Recorder
Many motor vehicles and commercial trucks are equipped with an event data recorder, which is also referred to as the black box. It stores valuable data, such as the vehicle’s speed, and braking and steering patterns that help prove the other person—not you—caused the wreck.
Save your clothes in the condition they were in after your accident in a sealed plastic bag. If your case goes to jury trial, your torn and bloodied clothes can be compelling evidence to show to the jury.
Medical Bills and Records
Your medical bills, receipts, and records are crucial to proving that you suffered serious injuries in the motor vehicle accident and the cost of your necessary treatments. Start saving these documents right away to know how much you should be paid for medical expenses in your settlement.
Paystubs and Income Tax Returns
You'll need paystubs and other documentation from your employer of the benefits, bonuses, commissions, and other perks that you lost while off work recovering. Your income tax returns can also help establish your wage losses or lost income if you're self-employed.
Property Damage Receipts
If your vehicle and any other property were damaged in the collision, you should save the receipts for the cost of repairing or replacing them. In addition, keep records of any other out-of-pocket expenses you incurred, like towing costs and car rental fees.
Request a copy of the other driver’s insurance policy to determine how much insurance coverage they have to pay what you're owed. Also, review your own policy in case you need to file a claim with your insurance company because the other driver has insufficient insurance to fully compensate you—or none at all.
Expert witnesses who have specialized training and experience can give their opinions on disputed issues in your case. Doctors, accident reconstruction experts, economic experts, and engineers are commonly used by the legal team for accident victims to help resolve complex issues with insurance carriers.
What's the Best Way to Collect the Evidence You Need?
If you want to be certain that you have all the necessary evidence to win your case, hire a skilled motor vehicle accident lawyer as soon as possible after your collision. They can identify what types of evidence are crucial in your case and obtain black box data, witness statements, and other time-sensitive evidence before it's lost or destroyed.
Not only should your attorney be prepared to aggressively negotiate with a resistant insurance company, but also move your case to trial if the evidence determines the need for it.
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