Securing Evidence from Accident Scene
Why It’s Important to Your NYC Car Crash Case
If your car accident was caused by someone else’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation for the physical and emotional injuries you suffered. To help ensure that you receive the compensation to which you are entitled, it is crucial to secure evidence relating to the accident as soon as possible. The New York City car accident attorneys at David Resnick & Associates, P.C., understand the importance of securing evidence, as well as the methods used to accomplish this vital goal.
Although most car accident lawsuits are ultimately settled out of court, we will handle your case from day one as though it is going to trial in front of a jury. Not only will that put you in the strongest position possible for negotiating a settlement, but it also means that we are prepared to present your case to a jury and secure a verdict in your favor if a settlement is not possible.
Because we take this aggressive approach, evidence collection and preservation is vital. The rules of evidence must be adhered to so that we can ensure that the jury is able to see or hear each piece of evidence in your case. An error at the evidence-gathering or preservation stage could result in the evidence not being admitted at trial. Because we know this, we are meticulous about how we gather and secure evidence in your case.
Can You Count on Law Enforcement to Gather and Preserve Evidence?
The practical reality is that a victim cannot count on law enforcement to gather and secure evidence from a motor vehicle collision. In New York City, for example, a car accident is not even investigated by a law enforcement agency unless there are life-threatening injuries or death. In other jurisdictions, the police may be called to the scene, but the extent to which they investigate and gather evidence varies widely.
Even if a law enforcement agency does conduct a thorough investigation of a car accident, the purpose of the investigation is to determine if any criminal or traffic offenses have been committed, not to determine who was negligent, or at fault, in the crash.
As a result, a victim should have realistic expectations about the evidence-preservation efforts of a law enforcement agency. If the collision was serious, the police will likely take photographs at the scene, interview witnesses and collect or document any other evidence that appears to be relevant. The police may also perform field sobriety tests on a driver if they believe the driver was under the influence of alcohol or drugs. This, however, is likely to be the extent to which a victim can rely on law enforcement for evidence gathering and preservation – and even those efforts may be far from thorough.
Time-Sensitive Evidence – Why You Need to Act Fast
Evidence showing negligence in a car accident can come in numerous forms – some of which are extremely time sensitive, meaning that if the evidence is not discovered quickly, it can vanish.
Some examples of this type of evidence include:
- Tire tread patterns and skid marks –These marks, whether made in the dirt or on pavement, can speak volumes to how and why a collision occurred. Unfortunately, they will also fade fast, be washed away or be covered up rapidly if not photographed or properly documented.
- Broken branches — If a vehicle veered off the roadway, tree branches may tell the tale. However, they can be trimmed or grow back quickly, obscuring the trail.
- Marks on grass or lawns – Just as skid marks and broken branches tell a story, so do tire tracks on grass or other malleable surfaces, yet they will disappear within hours if not documented and preserved.
- Trash from a vehicle – Sometimes a driver who has been drinking will toss out the evidence right after an accident. That crucial evidence can easily disappear if not documented immediately.
- Non-working traffic lights – Road conditions such as a malfunctioning traffic light may cause or contribute to a crash. Although the government agency responsible for the traffic light should have an official record of the light’s failure, taking photographs or getting a witness to provide a statement that confirms the problem is always a good idea.
- Road construction – Work zones are a common site for accidents. If you were in a construction zone accident, the entire area should be photographed and documented to see if it was properly marked and that adequate warnings were posted.
Can I Depend on My Insurance Company to Collect Evidence?
Depending on the severity of the collision and your insurance company’s policies, an adjuster may be called to the scene of the crash. While you might assume that your insurance company is on your side, do not assume that this means the adjuster will go above and beyond to discover and collect evidence. The majority of them do not.
One reason for this is that New York is a “no-fault” insurance state, meaning that in many car accidents, fault is not an issue for the insurance adjuster. Because your own personal liability insurance policy will be responsible for paying your medical expenses if the accident was not serious, many adjusters do not spend a considerable amount of time worrying about who was at fault in an accident. Likewise, roadside assistance programs or “first responder” teams provided by vehicle manufacturers may assist an injured victim or arrange for the vehicle to be towed away from the scene, but they will be unlikely to assist with evidence discovery or preservation.
Locating and collecting evidence is crucial to your car accident case, and securing the evidence once it is collected can be equally as important. Each piece of evidence must be properly documented with the date, time and location and then secured in a manner that does not allow it to be compromised. The precise method of securing evidence depends on the type of evidence collected. You can rest assured that the car accident legal team at David Resnick & Associates, P.C., is well versed in methods of evidence collection as well as the proper procedures for securing evidence.
Accident Reconstruction Experts
When the cause of an accident is unclear or disputed, it may be necessary to turn to an accident reconstruction expert to help determine the cause. For an accident reconstruction expert to provide the best possible analysis of the scene, he or she should have access to the scene as soon as possible after the collision. This is one of the many reasons why a victim should consult with the car accident attorneys at David Resnick & Associates, P.C., as soon as possible after an accident to ensure that an accident reconstruction expert is immediately dispatched to the scene if necessary.
Contact the New York Car Accident Lawyers at David Resnick & Associates Today
If you have been injured in a New York City car accident, you could be entitled to compensation for your injuries. The key to successfully litigating your claim may lie in the discovery, collection and preservation of evidence from the crash. Properly securing the evidence may help ensure that you receive the maximum compensation possible for your injuries or your loss. The New York City car accident attorneys at David Resnick & Associates, P.C., represent victims and their families who have been injured in in New York City motor vehicle accidents. The earlier we are contacted after an accident, the better our chance of locating and preserving all of the evidence. For a free initial evaluation of your case, contact the firm today by calling 917-789-1564 or by filling out our online contact form.