It’s everything with regard to an injury case. The best storyteller of an incident or of the impact of the incident on the person’s life is someone other than the victim. Unfortunately, a lot of times, we don’t have any of those other witnesses. Many times, in auto collisions there are plenty of other drivers who have actually witnessed the collision, but either they don’t give any information, or they don’t stay around. Without that, it’s why insurance companies tend to give so much weight to a police report. Ninety-nine times out of 100 the police officer didn’t actually witness the incident. All he is doing is regurgitating what he heard from other people at the scene, but you have to have something.
Photographs of the vehicles involved can be very important; now that everyone has a cellphone, there really is no good reason to at least get some photos at the scene of the collision that shows the relative position of the vehicles and their damage.
Of course, if you are transported in an ambulance, you might not have a chance to do that, but it’s always important to be able to show the significance of the impact if it’s a car wreck or the layout of the intersection. Ultimately, if you are on a jury, what would you like to see? You’d like to see pictures showing the way that it happened and how it happened. Gathering that evidence upfront is critical.
Do You Recommend That Your Clients Keep A Journal Of Events After An Accident?
I advise them to live their life as best they can as if there is no claim or there is no lawsuit. If you are the kind of person that keeps a diary or a journal to help keep track of your thoughts, I urge you to do that. If it’s not something that you do or are comfortable with doing, then don’t do it. It’s probably a good idea to keep some sort of a record of what happens because, with the passage of time, you are going to tend to forget about things. If you end up having several visits for physical therapy, two years from now — when you are giving your deposition about it — you are probably not going to remember every visit you had or which visit you may have missed, so it’s nice to keep a journal of that.
Your focus needs to be on getting better and getting your life back together; so if that’s the kind of thing that’s going to be hard for you to do or you are not going to do it very well, then you’re probably better off not doing it at all.