We may be best known for the great work we do for our clients inside the courtroom, having a long track record of securing multi-million-dollar settlements and awards for victims of severe personal injury situations. But that success, whether it happens inside or outside a courtroom, is only achieved by all the incredibly hard investigative work leading up to those moments of oration and argument on our client’s behalf.
The key to winning a personal injury case lies within its investigation. Without thorough and comprehensive research and analysis of everything leading up to and surrounding the accident that occurred, and how those events pertain to the law, our team can’t hope to create a strong argument for our clients in settlement proceedings or in court. That’s why we take it upon ourselves to be just as good at investigating as we are at litigating by treating every personal injury case we take on as though it’s going to trial.
Gathering Evidence and Reports
There are a lot of moving parts when it comes to determining how an accident occurred and what its aftermath became. That makes the process of evidence collection meticulous and multifaceted, primarily because there are so many different types of evidence that can be gathered in any one case.
We often like to start with the evidence that’s most likely to change or disappear the soonest after the accident, as some types of evidence can. These include things like physical evidence gathered from the scene of the accident, taking first-hand photos and/or videos of the scene, and gathering witness statements. Depending on what it is, physical evidence can sometimes become degraded or disappear altogether within the police storage system, so the sooner we can deploy our team to gather or examine it, the better. The same is true for injuries—they’ll heal with time, so we want to make sure we collect evidence of them as soon as possible. And when it comes to witness statements, memories also tend to change or fade over time. So the sooner we can have a member of our team interview necessary witnesses to the accident, the better.
We’ll also gather evidence that’s less sensitive to change over time, such as any photos or videos taken by other people who were on the scene at some point, or otherwise captured by sources such as traffic or security cameras. If there is additional footage relevant to the case such as footage from car dashboard cameras or police body camera footage from the first responders on the scene, we’ll work on gathering and reviewing them as well.
We will also gather as many different types of reports related to the accident as we can. This includes police reports taken by officers at the scene, insurance reports if we’re able to access them, as well as CAD reports, or computer-aided dispatch reports, which are 9-1-1 emergency call reports. We will also gather thorough medical reports and records that document the injuries suffered, and will even collect employment and financial records for our clients if we’re seeking compensation for things like missed work and wages or to otherwise prove the financial burden their accident has placed on them.
Working with the Right People
Our team often hires and works with an expert private investigator (PI) who will go out and gather evidence on behalf of our legal team and client, such as by taking photos of the accident scene and collecting other physical or photo/video evidence. Sometimes our PI will interview witnesses, but we often like for a legal expert from our team to handle that important step and make sure all the right questions are being asked. Even so, a PI is often brought in to work with us during the very early stages of an investigation in order to help us make sure all necessary evidence is collected in a timely manner.
When we do our due diligence, we often come up with people involved in the case who we either need further information from or need to collaborate with in some way in order to help us best build our arguments. For example, we will speak with the insurance adjuster and/or attorney for the insurance companies related to both our client and the at-fault party or parties to gather as much information about their intentions as we can.
Part of collecting and keeping good evidence sometimes also means asking others to keep the evidence they have secure. For this reason, we always mail out letters for “preservation of evidence” to any defendant involved in the accident. This letter is a formal legal notice letting the person know that they are in possession of some kind of evidence relevant to the case, and that we are requiring them to preserve that evidence by keeping it somewhere safe in their possession. Often, such evidence includes items like the vehicle involved in the crash, any personal items inside the vehicle, or even the clothes they were wearing that day. These items can help to build accident recreation models and simulations later on. This is especially true for vehicles that have the Bosch CDR tool, which downloads air bag control modal data that can help determine what happened inside the vehicle up to five seconds prior to the crash.
If a case does become particularly complex or overdrawn and is starting to look like it will indeed head to trial, we will often also work with experts to help us review the evidence we’ve gathered. These experts can be medical doctors with specialties relating to our client’s injuries, accident recreation specialists, or even weather experts who might be able to comment on how driving conditions contributed to the accident. We have a trusted list of such experts that we can turn to, or in particularly unique cases, we take time to research and work with relevant new experts.
Doing the Legal Research
Though every single personal injury case is unique in how it occurred and what its effects were, the process of seeking compensation for the victim is often based on many of the same rules and laws as similar accidents that came before it. Even so, there are a lot of laws and cases related to personal injury and all its variety of circumstances, which means that even though we’re experts with decades of successful experience, we still need to do thorough legal research for every single case. It’s what helps us determine how best to argue our client’s position in accordance with the law.
That research most often starts by searching for what kind of precedence has already been set regarding the particular circumstances of the case at hand. Precedence is generally established by a series of outcomes and decisions related to strings of similar cases, but sometimes there can be a single outstanding case with extenuating circumstances that might set new precedence all on its own. We research these cases thoroughly to understand what legal arguments we can expect to work best in our favor, and also to understand what arguments the defendant’s legal team may utilize.
We’ll also ensure we’re completely up-to-date on other specific legalities relevant to the case, such as local or state laws that might affect how a jury determines outcomes and awards compensation. Part of our process may even involve speaking to other personal injury attorneys who have won similar cases in order to try and gain a clearer understanding of how they achieved the outcome for their client.
You can’t expect your legal team to win your personal injury case if they’re just flying by the seat of their pants. The most meaningful outcomes happen when thorough evidence is gathered and then deeply analyzed, the right contacts and experts are collaborated with, and all necessary legal research and beyond has been done. These methods give our team the tools we need to win your case, both inside and outside the courtroom.
Posted Under: Personal Injury