The Importance Of Gathering Evidence
When I file a lawsuit or make a claim on behalf of a client, I bear the burden of proving the allegations I’ve brought against the defendant. For example, if I claim that someone ran a stop sign, it is my responsibility to provide evidence of them having done so. Failure to meet this burden of proof may result in the dismissal of a case by the court.
Additionally, It is critical to understand that although the police will typically arrive at the accident scene and compile an accident report, their role is not to determine fault. The primary task of law enforcement is to investigate the scene and report the facts they find, while the responsibility of assigning fault lies with the court.
This highlights the significant importance of gathering relevant information and engaging in discussions whenever you can. By capturing photographs, obtaining witness statements, and combining all available evidence at the scene of an accident, you greatly strengthen your ability to meet the burden of proof required for your case. Because of this, I often advise clients who contact me shortly after an accident to consider visiting and documenting the scene on their own.
In more serious cases, I may even involve accident reconstruction specialists who are trained to examine the debris field, identify gouge marks where the bottom of a car impacted the ground, and examine any leaked fluids, shattered glass, or scattered plastic. However, since most cases do not require this level of extensive investigation, it may be sufficient to simply visit the scene on your own and piece together the details.
Engaging Other Parties At The Scene Of The Accident
You will be obliged to provide a statement to the investigating officer after an accident, and before doing so, I encourage my clients to take a moment to calm down and gather their thoughts. Being involved in an accident can be a highly charged and adrenaline-filled experience, so it is vital to regain composure and carefully consider the details of the incident before speaking with the officer.
Additionally, I recommend that my clients check on the well-being of the other party involved or any potential witnesses at the scene, if it is safe to do so. Showing concern for their safety and offering assistance if needed is a compassionate and good gesture. However, I do not advise my clients to engage in detailed discussions about the accident with anyone at the scene.
Instead, it is best to reserve such conversations for my personal meeting, where I can thoroughly review the incident with them and ensure that all pertinent information is shared accurately. This way, I can better protect my client’s interests and maintain a clear and cohesive narrative surrounding the accident.