In Florida, all accident and personal injury claims must be handled quickly and effectively if you want to maximize your chances of getting adequately compensated for your injuries. Gathering evidence can be a challenge but will be crucial towards the success of your case. Each case is different, and each situation will require different types of evidence. Discovering early on what evidence is important for personal injury claims can make all the difference for you and your family.

Why Evidence is Important for Your Case

Basic PIP (No-Fault) insurance, covers some medical expenses, lost wages, and provides a $5,000 death benefit. However, PIP will only cover 80% of medical expenses and 60% of lost wages, even less if the injury does not constitute a medical emergency. A non-medical emergency will only be covered by $2,500 of your PIP insurance. Therefore, you will have to rely on the at-fault driver’s bodily injury insurance coverage, if any, and your own health insurance to cover the medical costs beyond these amounts.
 
As the injured party making a claim, you have the burden of proof. You must prove that you were involved in a situation that was not your fault and that the other person involved was at fault and/or committed a wrongful action that led to your injuries.
 
Any evidence you have should be maintained throughout the duration of your claim. As a general rule, most evidence will fall into one of two categories, Proof of Fault and Proof of Damages.

What Evidence Proves Fault?

The proof of fault evidence is classified as anything that is pertinent to the accident, leading up to it, and how it happened that you came to be harmed by someone else. It often involves:

  • Statements from anyone who witnessed the injury occur. Did someone see you slip and fall in an unsafe area at a commercial establishment? Were there witnesses who stopped to assist after seeing the car crash occur
  • Police reports regarding the incident and what they feel occurred. When the police show up on the scene of an accident, did they file a report? This report will include everyone’s information, details of the scene, injuries that were reported at that time, and more.
  • Photographs and videos of your vehicle after an accident or of the wet floor where you slipped in a restaurant. The reason for photographs and videos is to show a visual image of what type of situation you were presented with and how it injured you. In a vehicle accident, a photo and video of a severely damaged trunk area will show that the driver in the other vehicle hit your car from there, it may be determined that they were driving too close or neglected to drive safely.
  • Safety recall information may also be required if you were injured due to a product that has known safety issues. A vehicle with a proven faulty rear axle of which you were unaware of, yet your rear axle falls off while you are driving. Collect the paperwork you can find, and it can be linked to the company that built your vehicle.
  • Anything else that you feel is important information regarding your case should also be collected and shown when you file your claim. Keep in mind that there is never a situation where you could have too much information or too much evidence supporting you.

Proof of Damages

Once you have all the proof regarding what happened, you will have to show how it has impacted your life since the accident. Proof of damages is a little more complex to prove, but it is not impossible.

It requires you to show proof that you lost your job as a result of missing work after the personal injury. How much money did you lose because you were injured? It should also include medical bills during and after the accident.

You will have the burden of proving your pain and suffering. You can do this by having someone you know take pictures and videos of you after the accident when it is clearly evident that you are suffering from the accident-related injuries. Discuss your diagnosis with your doctor and get proof of anything that may lessen your quality of life long-term. Proof of damages is often the hardest thing to gather for victims of a personal injury case. It is difficult to prove how much pain you have suffered as a result of an injury. However, if you feel confident that you have a claim, you can build your own evidence by keeping a daily journal of all that you are going through, taking photos and videos of the healing process you have had to go through or have medical experts provide testimony to the fact that your injuries were severe to warrant the other person being held accountable.

Other Important Considerations

Most personal injuries in Florida are a result of a traffic incident. Therefore, if you are involved in a vehicle accident, it is vital for you to know what needs to be done as soon as you step out of your vehicle. Your evidence collection will need to start immediately.

These are some of the different things that need to happen at the scene of an accident.

  • Stay at the Scene
  • Speak with the Other Driver to find out what happened
  • Call 911 for Assistance
  • Exchange Information, Name, Phone, License Numbers, Tag Numbers, Insurance Information, etc.
  • Seek Witness Information
  • Take as many photos and videos of everything the scene, if you are able

If you are injured in the accident and unable to gather this information, a detailed police accident report should be enough to help you with it.

Understanding Your Rights and Responsibilities

In Florida, a personal injury lawsuit must be filed within four years of the incident date, but many claims are resolved before the filing of a lawsuit. The problem for most people is that they find themselves so busy trying to recover from the personal injury that they neglect to take care of everything quickly. 
 
Any personal injury to yourself or your family is very stressful. There are so many things to deal with and it is typically unexpected, which means we cannot plan for all the “what ifs”. You may know that having the right evidence for a personal injury claim is vital, but it can seem like an added burden to gather it and present it in the right way. This is one of the main reasons it is always good to consider seeking legal counsel after a personal injury has occurred.

At the Bodden & Bennett Law Group, we understand what you are dealing with. We are here to answer any questions you may have about your pending case or the steps you need to take in order to reach a favorable settlement or verdict.