As the plaintiff, or the party bringing a personal injury or accident case to court, the task falls on you and your legal counsel to sway the courts that your side of the argument is correct. This responsibility is often referred to as the “burden of proof”—and that proof is based greatly on the evidence you can present in support of the argument your case is making.
As one of the most essential parts of any court case, you and your legal counsel will spend a fair amount of time focused closely on this point. It will be important for you to gather relevant evidence to support you and your case. In order to do this, you and your lawyer will work together to identify and collect evidence that’s relevant and admissible for your case.
Understanding three main types of evidence
Learning to recognize what types of evidence are helpful to your case is key to your success. For most personal injury cases, there are three overarching types of evidence that encompass what you can present in court.
The strongest form of evidence is direct evidence. This type of legal proof links a person or cause directly to a specific crime or event, without any hint of doubt. In these cases, the evidence supports your legal assertion, with no need for intervention or inference of any kind.
For example, this type of evidence may include:
- Security camera footage, phone video, or doorbell video capturing a slip or fall
- An eyewitness account of an injury having happened
- Computer or phone records recording a confession, negligence, etc.
The second form of evidence most seen in potential accident and injury cases is circumstantial evidence (sometimes referred to as “indirect evidence”). This type of evidence represents facts and/or reasons inferring innocence or guilt, but may not directly prove it.
A bit more complex, this evidence may lead to multiple conclusions—or offer numerous explanations.
- Pooled water or wet pavement on the scene of a car accident
- Statements from people who’ve also had issues walking on steps where the plaintiff fell
- Gym management records previously mentioning problems with equipment that ultimately hurt someone
Although, direct evidence can be far more effective. Multiple pieces of circumstantial evidence, when presented together en masse, can help paint a very clear picture of what happened during an alleged event.
Finally, tangible evidence (sometimes referred to as “real” evidence) represents pieces of evidence that you can pick up and look at or things you can demonstrate.
- A broken step, from a fall
- A dent in a car from where it was hit
- A tree or bush blocking a stop sign
- Paperwork from medical treatment
- Police reports from the scene of the injury or accident
This type of evidence is also referred to as “physical” evidence and can make for a strong and meaningful addition to your lawsuit.
What types of evidence you’ll need for your specific case
Thinking about the above evidence examples, it can be difficult and sometimes confusing to figure out how best to gather, organize, and present the best possible evidence and documentation for your case.
How do you know what you need to pull together? What should you try to gather immediately or remember and record later?
Working with an experienced personal injury lawyer is key to answering questions specific to your case. But, generally speaking, there are some important things you can proactively do before meeting with your legal counsel.
As soon as you’re safely able to collect evidence from your injury, be sure to look for:
- Any evidence you can gather from the place your injury occurred (for example, images of the scene).
- Paperwork, digital files, and other documents relating to your accident. This could include police reports and medical records, as good examples.
- Video and/or audio evidence. From your phone, home security systems nearby, etc.
- Names and contact information from any witnesses who saw the events take place.
Still have questions?
You likely have several concerns and questions about how to manage evidence and prepare your personal injury case. Our team at Wilson Williams Law is experienced in bringing a variety of personal injury cases to court. We can help you both identify and gather evidence and successfully state your case. Give us a call today at (888) 253-4071 to learn more about how we can help you build or manage a case. We look forward to working with you!
Note: This blog is intended to be informational only and shall not be construed as legal advice.