There are two categories of evidence in personal injury lawsuits: physical evidence and non-physical evidence.
Physical evidence includes any evidence that is tangible, such as wrecked cars or a plaintiff’s scar from their injury. Physical evidence is particularly important because the jury can actually see and observe it, giving them a clearer picture of what occurred in the case. Physical evidence also includes photographic and video evidence. Photographic and video evidence is often used when physical evidence cannot be wholly preserved. The evidence is instead documented in photograph or video form. Common uses of photographic and video evidence are to document the scene of the injury, the plaintiff’s initial injuries, and stages of the plaintiff’s medical operations.
Non-physical evidence is typically presented to the jury as information or testimony from which they are intended to draw a specific conclusion. The testimony might come from the parties in the case, from eyewitnesses to the events of the case, or from medical or other experts. Non-physical evidence predominates over physical evidence in most cases. Common types of non-physical evidence include oral testimony, police reports, depositions, medical records, and medical bills.
Police reports from the accident or event underlying the case are a useful source of factual and unbiased information about the events of the case. Police reports can be very advantageous to the plaintiff, especially where the defendant was issued a ticket or notice of violation.
Oral testimony is presented by witnesses on the stand during trial. Normal witnesses can testify as to what occurred during and after the accident, while expert witnesses offer an opinion on specific evidence or events in the case.
Depositions are conducted before trial and are offered as evidence during trial. Depositions are testimonial statements by witnesses under oath, but do not include cross-examination like traditional courtroom testimony does.
Medical records give the jury more detailed information about the plaintiff’s injuries and will also be used by expert witnesses to assess the plaintiff’s injuries and develop their testimony for trial. Medical records are useful to show the extent and long-term effects of the plaintiff’s injuries. Medical records include x-rays, surgical records, lab results, doctor’s notes about diagnosis and treatment, psychological records, and prescription records.
Medical bills are useful to establish the financial impact of the plaintiff’s injuries and to calculate damages if the plaintiff wins their case. Medical bills will include any surgeries or treatments the plaintiff underwent, hospital stays, prescription medications, and rehabilitation programs.
If you are considering filing a personal injury lawsuit, it is important that you preserve all evidence that may be relevant to your case. It is a good idea to hire a personal injury attorney, like one from Eglet Adams, to assist you in preserving and gathering evidence, because it will not always be clear which evidence is relevant to your case until your lawyer has engaged in discovery and reviewed all of the evidence.