Why Preserving Evidence After a Serious Accident is Extremely Important

Posted By: Tony Baratta | May 3rd, 2021


Under civil laws, accidents that cause death or serious injury to a person make the party at fault liable for economic and non-economic damages. The injured party or the family of the deceased has the right to seek damages and compensation from the person at fault in the accident.

But not every civil wrong, tort, or wrongful death case goes according to plan. It’s one thing to get seriously injured or to experience the loss of a loved one because of the fault of another. But proving it in court is a different ball game. The victims or their families must prove that the injury or wrongful death was indeed the result of another person’s deliberate or negligent acts.

That’s where the importance of having evidence comes in. If the victims or their families are equipped with the evidence to prove the civil wrong, they have a higher chance of recovering compensation and damages from the party at fault.


Preserving Evidence After a Serious Accident: A Case Study

After a serious accident, the first thing a victim should do is to seek medical attention. Afterward, they should take photos of the accident scene, get the information of the other party involved in the accident, and identify key witnesses, among others.

All forms of evidence that can serve as proof of the accident should be preserved as much as possible. This is also where having an attorney becomes important, as experts know what to do and how to preserve the evidence of the accident for the court.

Take for example a motor vehicle collision, one of the most common causes of accidents resulting in injuries and death. A motor vehicle driver, for example, is driving under the influence and blows through a red light, which causes a car crash. The car that was hit is set on fire. In this instance, the responsible or at-fault party is the drunk driver.

However, they do not have enough liability insurance to properly and fairly compensate the victim for the injuries caused. Now, it’s the lawyer’s job to preserve evidence, i.e. the car belonging to the victim. An attorney will then ask crucial questions to determine how and why it caught on fire. Was it because of a ruptured fuel tank? Did something burst and create a fire situation?

If so, it’s not only the drunk driver who can be held liable for the damages. The victim can also sue the vehicle manufacturer for the breach of their obligation to anticipate the accident or injuries caused by regular and customary use of the product.

If the lawyer did not preserve the vehicle that burst into flames as evidence, the victim or injured party may forever lose the right and opportunity to have that vehicle preserved, inspected, and evaluated. Without this piece of evidence, it will be nearly impossible for the injured party to make a solid case.


Why Is It Important to Preserve Evidence?

It’s vitally important that all evidence of a serious accident is preserved and maintained for later inspection by the appropriate experts. Preserving evidence not only helps gather the proof needed to create a solid case, but it also protects the injured party from losing incredibly valuable rights and allowing them to recover the compensation and damages that they deserve.

About the Author

Anthony J. Baratta (Tony) is a trial attorney. He has tried more than 50 cases to Juries in State and Federal Courts and has litigated thousands of personal injury and medical malpractice cases in his 30-year career. Tony is the founding partner of Baratta, Russell, & Baratta and an active board member of the Pennsylvania Brain Injury Association (BPIA). Tony is also on the board for the Philadelphia VIP and performs pro bono work for the Laurel House, a non-profit for victims of domestic abuse. In addition, Tony is a member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum for trial attorneys, voted one of Philadelphia’s Super Lawyers for the past 14 years, and a 2018 recipient of the First Judicial District Pro Bono Award for the Civil Trial Division.

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