A successful claim for damages in a car crash case is composed of facts that are easy for a jury to digest and an attorney who can assemble these facts together and present them in a persuasive manner. And just like technology has changed the way we live our lives in so many areas, technology has changed the way facts are accumulated and presented, at least to a certain extent.
Most courtrooms are equipped with large TV screens and other devices that are designed to broadcast pictures, videos, graphs, and other visual media to the jurors. But all the bells and whistles in the world do little good without facts, and whether the process involves shoe leather or a keyboard, locating them always requires old fashioned hard work.
Physical evidence at the crash scene, like skid marks and property damage, is an important first step, and collecting this evidence underscores the need to call an attorney before you call the insurance company. Police and first responders almost never take pictures of physical evidence, because they are at the scene to take care of damaged people and property, not to help establish liability in a future civil case.
The same principle applies to eyewitnesses. First responders sometimes collect the contact information of anyone who lingered at the scene, and that is a good beginning. To gather more facts, an attorney often partners with a private investigator to canvass the area and find additional eyewitnesses. A private investigator is often more approachable than a police officer, so more witnesses are encouraged to come forward.
Finally, although the police report may indicate fault, that report is probably not admissible in evidence, and it is definitely neither conclusive nor persuasive. The written report is merely a starting point towards a determination of legal liability.
While there is no substitute for this traditional evidence, the Event Data Recorder is often a very important supplement. As of September 2012, all new cars sold in the United States must have an EDR, which is much like the “black box” in a commercial airplane.
Capability varies by model, but most EDRs capture and record a wide variety of important data metrics, including:
- Vehicle speed;
- Crash force;
- Steering angle;
- Brake application;
- Vehicle roll angle; and
- Certain mechanical flaws.
All these factors are very important in determining breach of reasonable care, cause in fact, and foreseeability.
Preserving the EDR requires additional work that must be done quickly, because most insurance companies dispose of wrecked vehicles within days after a crash. So, an attorney sends a spoliation letter, which puts the owner on notice that a personal injury claim may be filed and that evidence in the case, including the EDR, must be retained for later evaluation.
Reach Out to an Aggressive Car Crash Lawyer
The stronger the case, the better the chance to obtain maximum compensation. For a free consultation with a hard-working personal injury attorney in Charleston, contact David Aylor Law Offices. An attorney can arrange ongoing medical care for victims, even if they have no money and no insurance.