If you have been involved in a car accident through no fault of your own, North Carolina provides you the right to recover for the injuries or losses you have suffered. But, to recover you will have to prove both the liability of the other party and your own damages. The best way to prove these things in your claim is through the use of evidence.
Generally, settling your own claim with the at fault driver’s insurance provider is more favorable when compared to drafting and filling a lawsuit. Settlement negotiations are less formal, less expensive, less time-consuming, and they allow the parties more leeway in determining the amount of recovery. However, if you choose to settle your own claim, you will want to prepare your evidence and your claim as if you were heading to trial.
As you prepare your claim you should look for any piece of information or document that with help prove or support your claim, regardless of how trivial or inconsequential it may seem. The smallest shred of evidence could ultimately be a deciding factor in whether or not you recover for your injuries.
It is not uncommon for two drivers involved in the accident to have different versions of the same story. When this occurs, typically it becomes a “he said, she said” type of battle, likely resulting in both insurance companies denying liability. One of the best ways to support your account of the accident is to provide statements from witnesses that corroborate your version of events. Eyewitnesses can provide some of the most valuable evidence there is when it comes to proving your right to recovery. It is important to gather information about eyewitnesses as soon as possible after the accident occurs. It is important to also remember, that you are an eyewitness to the accident, as well. Remembering this key fact, make sure to document your account of the accident as soon as possible. Follow the link for more information on locating and interviewing car accident witness.
Collecting physical evidence of your case will be important in support of your claim. The term “physical evidence” describes anything that is tangible: an object that you can touch, observe, pick up or hold in your hand. In the context of a car accident, the most common piece of physical evidence is a damaged vehicle. Examples of physical evidence include: Dents, scrapes, blown tires or shattered glass. The most important thing to remember about physical evidence is that it is often cleaned up or repaired. Follow the link for more information on evidentiary issues in North Carolina car accidents..
The accident crash report can also be used as evidence in support of your claim. Generally, when the accident that caused your injuries or damage occurs, the police will be called to the scene. Once the officer arrives, they will survey the damage, investigate the scene, and interview any witnesses. After all of that, the officer will create the crash report, in North Carolina known as DMV-349, which will memorialize the relevant details of the accident.
Another type of evidence that can be invaluable to your claim is photographic evidence. Photographs and video can allow for an easier reconstruction of what occurred and may give the adjuster a better understanding of the scene of the accident, damage to vehicles and the extent of your injuries. If you can, it’s important that you take plenty of pictures at the scene of the accident.
Providing evidence of your medical treatment will allow you to proof part of your damages or injuries in your claim. Medical bills and records are used in practically every personal injury claim because they establish a consistent account of when and where you were treated, which providers you were treated by, and what treatment you received. With this in mind, make sure that you seek medical attention after the accident.
In some cases, if you are claiming lost wages you will have to proof such amount with evidence. For more information about lost wages, please see our series of articles on Lost Wages in North Carolina Personal Injury Claims.
It is important to remember to collect all the evidence available to you, even if some will be more valuable than others. Even if your immediate goal is to reach a fair settlement, you should prepare your claim as if you were going into court. Be reasonable with adjusters. Remember that they are people too, and as such they will be likely more willing to work with someone who is nice and respectful.