The Mn Criminal Defense, Personal Injury & Family Law Blog
Vehicle Collision Evidence and Brainerd, MN Accident Lawyers
March 1, 2020
Driver error causes about 95 percent of the car crashes in Minnesota. establishing the nature of that driver error is often key to maximum compensation in a vehicle collision claim. Tortfeasors (negligent drivers) who violate safety laws, like speeding or making an illegal lane change, could be liable for damages as a matter of law.
Additionally, in driver impairment cases, such as alcohol or fatigue, many Crow Wing County jurors award higher damages. These drivers arguably intentionally disregard the safety of other people.
A good Brainerd, MN accident lawyer does more than obtain compensation for victims. Attorneys obtain justice for victims. Additionally, lawyers connect victims with doctors, often at no upfront coast. In other words, a Brainerd, MN accident lawyer is committed to your total physical, emotional, and financial recovery.
Pros and Cons of Traditional Evidence
Solid compensation claims begin with evidence. The victim/plaintiff has the burden of proof in a car wreck claim. Many times, this evidence comes from one of three sources. However, such evidence is not appropriate in all cases.
Frequently, a Brainerd, MN accident lawyer starts with the police accident report. This official document, which is normally admissible in court, contains valuable information about the crash itself, along with the names of some key witnesses.
Police departments generally put up privacy red tape to prevent people from obtaining these reports. But an experienced attorney knows how to overcome this hurdle and quickly obtain a police report.
The accident report is usually, but not always, a valuable piece of evidence. Even the most experienced first responder is not an accident reconstructionist. These individuals do the best they can with the evidence available, but sometimes this evidence is not enough. Frequently, a Brainerd, MN accident lawyer must dig deeper.
Additionally, if the victim was seriously injured or killed, the police accident report is probably oincomplete. Generally, such reports contain only one side of the story.
Medical bills are also difficult to obtain, due to privacy laws. So, Brainerd, MN accident lawyers usually obtain blanket waivers from victims during initial consultations. These waivers are sufficient to pry this valuable information away from hospital bureaucrats.
Like police accident reports, medical bills are generally admissible in court, provided that a Brainerd, MN accident lawyer lays the proper groundwork. These documents provide solid information about medical diagnosis, treatment, and cost.
Unfortunately, medical bills often miss the human element. Sometimes, nurses or doctors make notes about the victim’s level of pain and suffering. But these notes are not always present, and even if they are, they might not be admissible in court.
Finally, many car crash claims rely on witness statements. When unaffiliated people come forward and tell jurors what they saw, something almost mystical happens in the courtroom.
This evidence is often compelling, but it is not always accurate. Eyewitnesses could be incompetent to testify for some reason. Perhaps they know the victim, have an ax to grind with the tortfeasor, or were not wearing prescription eyewear at the time.
Brainerd, MN Accident Lawyers and Electronic Evidence
So, in many cases, more evidence is necessary. That’s not just because the victim/plaintiff has the burden of proof. Generally, there is a direct relationship between the amount of evidence the victim/plaintiff presents and the amount of damages the jury awards.
The Event Data Recorder is often effective in car crash claims. Almost all vehicles have one of these gadgets, which is much like a commercial jet’s black box flight recorder. EDRs measure and store data like:
Engine RPM, and
Assuming the EDR was working properly, the device is never wrong. So, it’s almost impossible for insurance company lawyers to block EDR evidence.
That’s assuming this device is available. Frequently, insurance companies destroy totaled vehicles within a few days of the accident. If that occurs, any physical evidence the vehicle contained, including the EDR, is gone.
So, Brainerd, MN accident lawyers quickly send spoliation letters to insurance companies. These letters create a legal duty to preserve all potential physical evidence, including the EDR, for trial.
Surveillance video is often useful as well. Gone are the days of grainy, black-and-white security videotapes. Most cameras digitally record HD video. Such evidence usually impresses Crow Wing County jurors.
As mentioned, first responders usually only conduct cursory investigations. Even if the video footage only captured part of the wreck, it can be very compelling in court. Like EDRs, cameras are never inaccurate, if they were working properly.
Contact an Assertive Attorney
Evidence is usually the key to a successful car wreck claim. For a free consultation with an experienced Brainerd, MN accident lawyer, contact Carlson & Jones, P.A. We do not charge upfront legal fees in negligence cases.