You cannot win a case without evidence. Furthermore, the evidence you present must comply with the standards for admissibility found in the Nevada Rules of Evidence.
A Nevada court will probably not accept evidence considered “hearsay,” for example. A lawyer can help you determine which evidence is and is not admissible. In the meantime, continue reading for further insight regarding evidence and its role in personal injury cases.
The “Preponderance of the Evidence” Standard
The preponderance of the evidence standard measures the weight of evidence that a plaintiff must produce to win a civil lawsuit. As a plaintiff, you must convince the jury it is more likely than not that the defendant is at fault.
The preponderance of the evidence standard is much easier for a plaintiff to meet than the “beyond a reasonable doubt” standard that a prosecutor must meet in a criminal prosecution.
Types of Evidence That Are Useful in a Personal Injury Case
Following is an explanation of some of the most common types of evidence used in personal injury cases.
The Accident Report
If the police respond to the accident, as they typically do in car accidents, they will complete an accident report that includes, among other items, the responding officer’s opinion on how the accident happened and whose fault it was.
Under most circumstances, accident reports cannot be used in court, Instead, the plaintiff will call the police officer who made the report as a witness at a deposition or in court. If the police officer’s testimony contradicts the contents of the police report, the plaintiff can use the police report to expose the contradiction and discredit the officer’s testimony.
Your Medical Records
Your medical records include medical records (and bills) concerning your accident as well as past medical records. Your past medical records can help your lawyer determine whether the defendant has any legal ammunition to claim that your injuries were caused by a pre-existing condition rather than the accident. If you suffered a back injury in a previous slip and fall accident, for example, you might be vulnerable to this tactic.
Your Earnings Records
You should claim compensation for lost earnings if you missed work because of the accident. Your earnings records can establish how much money you lost. Earnings records might include pay stubs, a letter from your employer, earnings records kept by your company in the normal course of business, and other evidence.
Photographs and Videos
Take as many photographs as you can of the scene of the accident, your injuries, any property damage, and anything else that is relevant. If you are lucky, you might even discover that CCTV footage has recorded the accident. This kind of evidence is hard to refute.
Do your best to identify any witnesses to the accident. You can question them during the investigation phase of your claim. You can question the witness in court if your claim makes it to trial.
Expert Witness Reports and Statements
Lawyers commonly use two kinds of expert witnesses–consulting expert witnesses and testifying expert witnesses. A consulting expert witness educates the lawyer and helps them investigate the case but does not testify in court. A consulting witness might prepare a written report.
By contrast, a testifying expert witness will testify in court and perhaps at a deposition. A testifying expert witness might also respond to interrogatories during the pretrial discovery process.
Your Injury Journal
Keeping an injury journal beginning as soon as possible after your accident is a good idea. Record descriptions of your pain, including its intensity and duration, and describe in detail how your injuries have affected your daily life. An injury journal is a good way of paving the way for non-economic damages such as pain and suffering.
A Copy of the Relevant Insurance Policy
You will need a copy of the insurance policy for several reasons, including:
- To determine the payout limits of the policy. The insurance company will never owe you any more than its policy limits.
- To determine whether the insurance policy covers the accident and the injuries the plaintiff suffered. This knowledge comes in handy during settlement negotiations.
In some cases, more than one insurance policy applies to a personal claim.
Pretrial Discovery Results
Pretrial discovery is a court-enforced process whereby each party seeks evidence from the other party by the following means:
- Depositions: Out-of-court, under oath testimony by witnesses.
- Interrogatories: Written questions that the recipient must answer under oath.
- Requests for production: A demand by a party to examine physical evidence; and
- Requests for admissions: A request that the receiving party admits specific facts, such as the identity of the owner of a car.
You must file a lawsuit before the discovery process can begin.
A Skilled Personal Injury Lawyer Will Know the Nevada Rules of Evidence by Heart
Evidence is useless if you cannot submit it in court. This is true even in settlement negotiations. An insurance company or a defendant won’t offer compensation for a claim you cannot prove in court.
An experienced Nevada personal injury lawyer will know how to find and prepare the evidence you can use in court and during settlement negotiations. Get in touch with an attorney at Battle Born Injury Lawyers by dialing (702) 570-9000 or contacting us through our intake form.