When preparing to build your case against the defendant, you should know what evidence is needed to prove negligence in a car accident. The police report, eyewitness testimony, dashboard camera footage, and other evidence can be crucial to showing what happened. Proving negligence means demonstrating who directly caused the car accident.
The evidence you need to demonstrate negligence differs from the evidence you need to prove the amount of your money damages. To make your case for compensation, you’ll also need evidence of any medical treatment you received, lost income from missed days at work, and other evidence. If you have questions about what evidence to collect in a car accident case, an injury lawyer can help.
The Police Report
If you got injured in a car accident in South Carolina, you might want to file a personal injury claim or a lawsuit against the party whose negligence caused the crash. But, the defendant’s insurance company and the court will not merely take your word that the other driver was negligent. You will have to provide credible evidence of the defendant’s careless conduct.
One of the most crucial pieces of evidence will be the report from the police if an officer came to the scene of the crash. The police report can include vital information, such as:
- Any citations issued by the officer at the scene
- The narrative and drawings the officer wrote on the report about what the officer believed caused the accident
- The time of day, lighting, and weather conditions during the accident. This data can be particularly helpful, for example, if the other driver claims the sun was in their eyes, but it was well after sundown.
- All damage to the vehicles
- Any factors the officer thinks caused or contributed to the collision
Depending on the situation, there might be additional useful information on the police report.
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Red Light or Intersection Camera Footage
There might be helpful footage on a red light camera or intersection camera at the scene of the crash. Sometimes, cameras at other intersections can be useful, particularly if the cameras capture negligent conduct by the defendant, such as driving erratically or speeding.
Dashboard Camera Footage
Dashboard cameras in vehicles of civilians are more common today than they used to be. If any of the vehicles had a dashboard camera that was running before or at the time of the accident, the footage could help you to establish the negligence of the at-fault driver.
Security Camera Footage at or Near the Scene of the Accident
Security cameras are also much more common than they used to be. Businesses have used these surveillance devices for quite a few years, but now, many homeowners use video doorbells and exterior home security cameras routinely. It could be worthwhile to canvass the neighborhood and ask businesses and homeowners if they have any security camera footage that might help to build your case.
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Testimonial Evidence from Others
Several individuals might get called to provide testimonial evidence about what happened. These witnesses can include:
- The at-fault driver
- Passengers in your vehicle
- Passengers in other vehicles
- Other drivers
- Pedestrians and bystanders
Accident Reconstruction Data
Sometimes people lie about what caused a motor vehicle accident, particularly if someone got severely injured and there is a lot of money at stake. You might need to hire an accident reconstruction expert who will photograph skid marks, take measurements, and perform calculations to prove what actually happened.
Damage to the Vehicles
The damage to the vehicles can tell a clear story, particularly to experts who know how to read the dents and other consequences of the impact. An expert witness might be able to refute the other driver’s testimony about the speed at which he was traveling, for example, by evaluating whether the frame got bent in the crash.
Establishing Negligence in a Car Accident Case
The evidence gets used to prove that the defendant was negligent and that the careless conduct caused the accident that injured you. Here are the required elements for establishing liability based on negligence:
- The at-fault driver breached their legal duty to drive safely and comply with traffic laws. For example, we might use red-light camera footage to show that the defendant ran a red light. Violating a legal duty of care is negligence.
- The careless conduct caused or contributed to the collision. The red-light camera footage showed the at-fault driver slamming into your vehicle when they ran the red light. You were in the intersection legally, as you had a green light.
- You had quantifiable losses from the accident. Physical injuries satisfy this element.
You do not want to wait too long to file a lawsuit if you got hurt in a car accident. You only have three years to file a personal injury lawsuit under South Carolina law, S.C. Ann. §15-3-530. If you miss the filing deadline, you can lose the legal right to go after compensation for your injuries and other losses.
A car accident lawyer from our team can ensure that you gather all evidence necessary to prove negligence and that you meet any important filing deadlines. Contact our team today to learn more and begin fighting for the compensation you deserve.