With the time-sensitive evidence secured, the focus of your attorney’s investigation will shift to gathering all of the evidence that will support your case and help you win your personal injury claim. Evidence such as police reports and hospital records are generally preserved by the organization or agency in possession of those records and are not at risk of disappearing with time. These requests usually are made in writing through appropriate legal channels as they become available from the entities in control and possession of the records.
There are certain types of evidence that your lawyer will obtain as a matter of course in your personal injury case, and other types of evidence that will be obtained on a case-by-case basis. Almost without exception, your injury lawyer will obtain copies of police reports, hospital records, doctor’s reports, and physical therapy records. Where other important evidence exists, such as an accident report by a business establishment or a video recording of security surveillance, your attorney will obtain copies of these records in order to help prove your case.
In car accident cases involving injury, and many other types of accidents causing injury, the police will almost always come out to the scene of the accident and investigate the incident. When they do, the police officers will prepare a written accident report. Such reports are very important as the contents of a police report will often contain important information or statements and admissions by witnesses that may have a strong bearing on the outcome your claim.
If you went to the hospital or were seen by a doctor, the hospital or the doctor will have detailed notes and records regarding your injuries. Doctor reports and hospital records will contain a detailed medical description of your injuries and may even contain information about the incident that caused your injuries and how it occurred. Statements you made at the time you went to the hospital or met with your doctor may also be reflected in these records. Doctor reports and hospital records will usually carry great weight in determining the severity and extent of your injuries, and hence the amount of monetary compensation that would appropriate in your case.
Often, a visit to the doctor or the hospital will be followed by a recommended plan of treatment that involves physical therapy. If your prescribed medical treatment involves going to physical therapy sessions, your attorney will provide notice to your physical therapy provider to send physical therapy records to your attorney. These records show how much pain and discomfort you have endured as a result of your injuries, and are strong evidence of the amount of pain and suffering that you have experienced. Combined with medical records, physical therapy records will help determine the amount of compensation to be awarded in your case.
If you were injured at a store, restaurant, hotel, or other business establishment, there are some important types of evidence that your lawyer will usually collect. Typically, the business will prepare a written report documenting the incident. The report may contain witness statements, and it may describe what was seen on video footage. In addition, your lawyer may request the safety inspection reports kept by the business during the relevant time frame. In many cases, and particularly in slip and fall cases, safety inspection reports can show two important things: (1) whether the business maintained a regular safety inspection procedure and hence whether or not the business owner was negligent; and (2) whether the safety inspections, if conducted, were conducted often enough to make the establishment safe for the public.