Car Accidents and Preservation of Evidence at the Scene
Persons involved in car accidents should take certain steps to preserve physical evidence. “The items of physical evidence are the silent sentinels of the truth.” The scene of an accident is fluid. Its physical characteristics will change and the physical evidence will disappear quickly. Will the snow and ice that covered the roadway be there tomorrow? Will the rain wash away the skid marks? How soon will the authorities clear the debris? If you have a camera in your car, take pictures. If not, have someone come to the scene and bring a camera. If this is not feasible, return to the scene as soon as possible and take photographs. It is better to have someone with you when the photographs are taken so that the photographs may be authenticated by a corroborating witness.
Closely examine your vehicle and take pictures of all the damage to the vehicle, interior, exterior, underneath. If you believe that a defect or malfunction in the vehicle may have been a cause of the accident, you need to retain counsel as quickly as possible. You may have a products liability claim, a claim of such complexity that it simply cannot be managed without the aid of an attorney. If you believe you have a product liability claim, be sure that the vehicle and all its parts are retained and not scrapped or sold.
If you have visible signs of an injury, have photographs taken. The bumps and bruises of Monday may be gone by Friday. Photographs of these types of injuries may provide the objective evidence of injury necessary to counter an argument that you were not hurt. Even in cases of more serious accidents such as broken bones, time will heal the most apparent physical aspects of the injury and a photograph will provide the best evidence of what those early weeks and months of recuperation were like for you.
Never stage a photograph. Your case is what it is. Do not try to make the facts better than they are. Apart from the obvious dishonesty, your opponents can and probably will strive to have the jury see a sinister implication in the most innocent efforts to enhance photographic evidence. Never shoot a “gag” photograph. You are taking these photographs for serious purposes, to prosecute a claim or to defend against a claim.
If you need more information about a Social Security Disability/SSI, personal injury, EEOICPA, long or short-term disability matter, please contact the Law Offices of Tony Farmer and John Dreiser for a free case evaluation. We can be reached at (865) 584-1211 or (800) 806-4611 or through our website. Our office handles claims throughout Tennessee.