Evidence is information, documents, and other physical items a person offers to prove a fact is more or less likely to be true. In a personal injury case, you use evidence to prove your allegations of negligence and other tort claims. Without sufficient evidence, you cannot recover compensation for economic damages, physical injuries, and non-economic damages from the at-fault party.
The Types of Evidence Admissible in a Florida Personal Injury Lawsuit
When you file a lawsuit in Florida, the Florida Rules of Evidence determine what evidence you can present in court. The types of evidence generally admissible in a personal injury trial include:
- Testimony – The parties may provide verbal testimony to the case, expert witnesses, eyewitnesses, physicians, accident reconstructionists, financial professionals, and other individuals who have relevant information about the case.
- Physical Evidence – Physical evidence is any tangible item related to the allegations.
- Documentary Evidence – This evidence includes videos, electronic files, photographs, audio records, and written documents.
- Circumstantial Evidence – This evidence implies an alleged fact because there is no reasonable alternative explanation. Defense attorneys often challenge circumstantial evidence as being unreliable.
- Hearsay Evidence – Hearsay evidence is generally inadmissible in a trial. It is a statement that someone heard that cannot be corroborated by other evidence.
A personal injury lawyer spends a great deal of time investigating your claim and gathering evidence. A law firm has resources that an injured person may not have to obtain the evidence necessary to prove the case.
Examples of Evidence Used to Prove a Personal Injury Claim
Each personal injury case and insurance claim are unique. Therefore, the evidence in your case may or may not include all of the following:
It is crucial to seek prompt medical treatment after an accident or injury. You must prove that the incident was a direct and proximate cause of your injury. You must also prove that you sustained injuries.
Detailed medical records provide the information necessary to link the at-fault party’s conduct with your injuries. They also substantiate the amount in medical expenses incurred to treat your injuries.
Examples of medical records in a personal injury case include:
- Ambulance records
- Emergency room and hospital records
- Diagnostic tests and lab reports
- Opinions, records, and statements from your primary physician, therapists, and other medical providers
- Medical bills and receipts of payment for out-of-pocket medical costs
- Psychological records
An insurance company might try to use a delay in medical care to allege failure to mitigate damages or that the accident did not cause your injuries. It could use pre-existing conditions as a defense.
Police Report and Accident Reports
It is essential to document that an accident occurred. For traffic accidents, call 911 to report the accident and remain at the accident scene. You can obtain a copy of the accident report from the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV).
Law enforcement officers investigate the cause of the crash. While the police report itself might not be admissible as evidence, the information contained within the report might be used as evidence.
A police report also might contain the contact information for eyewitnesses who can provide valuable testimony regarding who is at fault. Our legal team handles obtaining copies of police reports and crash reports for you.
You might be entitled to compensation for lost wages and diminished earning potential. Your employment records help establish your compensation before the accident and how much money you have lost because of your injuries.
In addition to employment records, you need a physician’s statement explaining why your injuries prevented you from working. You must prove that your injuries caused the loss of income to recover compensation.
Videos and Photographs
Videos of a collision and photographs of an accident scene can help prove fault. If you are injured in an accident, fall, or other incidents, try to make a video and take pictures of the accident scene.
You should also take photographs of your injuries. Photographs help jurors understand the extent of your injuries.
There are several forms of testimony in a personal injury case. Eyewitness testimony can be the most compelling testimony because the person does not have an interest in the outcome of the case. However, testimony from expert witnesses and the people involved in the case can also be crucial pieces of evidence.
What Is the Burden of Proof in a Florida Personal Injury Case?
The injured victim has the burden of proving the legal elements required to establish causation, fault, and liability. In a personal injury claim, you must prove your case by a preponderance of the evidence.
This standard of proof is not as high as the burden of proof in a criminal case. However, it can be difficult to meet without compelling evidence proving you were injured in an accident caused by the other party.
A preponderance of the evidence means there is greater than a 50% chance that the defendant caused your injury. In other words, it is more likely than not that the defendant negligently injured you and is liable for your damages.
Contact Us for a Free Consultation with Our Florida Personal Injury Lawyers
Proving the elements of a personal injury claim can be complicated and time-consuming. Roman Austin Personal Injury Lawyers has the resources, skills, and experience to investigate and gather evidence. Contact our office today at (727) 787-2500 to schedule a free consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney.