If you have suffered harm that may be grounds for a personal injury lawsuit, one of the most important things you can do is preserve evidence about the incident. This should be done promptly, as accident scenes can change quickly, evidence can be lost, and one cannot rely solely on one's memory. These processes may be difficult directly following a trauma, and if you cannot do them yourself, it is advisable that you have a friend or family member do them for you.
After an accident, physical items that are pertinent to the injury, such as torn clothing, broken items, and documents, should be collected and stored safely. The following is an abbreviated list of items to keep after accidents that can result in personal injury.
Preserving Evidence in Personal Injury Cases
Motor Vehicle Accidents: You should take photos of the scene, of your own injuries and the injuries of others, and of damage to any property. Furthermore, you need to keep copies of all the medical records of treatment you receive as a consequence of the personal injury. Other important documents are estimates of property damage and a copy of the police report or reports.
Defective Consumer Products: If a household product harms you or a loved one, you should retain the defective product in the condition it was when it caused the personal injury. Also, if possible, it is important to keep the written instructions to the item, as well as any warnings, labels, and packaging that accompanied the product. Ideally, you should also locate its original sales receipt. In the event that you cannot locate the receipt in your own personal records, you should contact the seller and request a copy, if possible.
Medical Malpractice/Birth Injuries: Keep or obtain copies of all pertinent medical records regarding treatment, as well as those related to any second or third opinions obtained from other health care providers. If a physical injury is visible, you should take pictures, so as to demonstrate that potentially improper medical treatment occurred.
It should be stressed that photographs of an accident scene, defective product, injury, etc, are among the most effective evidence in support of a personal injury case. Multiple pictures from multiple angles are invaluable to a personal injury victim.