If you were injured in a bus accident, you have probably heard that evidence and documentation are essential. Proper evidence can make the difference between receiving your deserved compensation and obtaining no amount at all. However, it can be challenging to know what proof you require for your personal injury case with so much needed. Essential evidence depends on your case circumstance, so it would be best that you work with the legal team at Las Vegas Car Accident Attorney Law Firm. Discussed in this article are different pieces of evidence you can provide in your case.
If you talk with an insurance firm or any person about your personal injury claim, keep detailed records of your conversation, including when your conversation happened, who you spoke to, and what you discussed. Also, save all letters and emails sent and received.
An insurance adjuster is experienced at obtaining information from plaintiffs and attempting to lower the payout amount.
After hiring a personal injury lawyer, they will handle all communications with the insurance provider on your behalf.
Proving Lost Income Damages
When a person cannot work following a bus accident due to emotional trauma or physical restrictions, any lost wages are a component of compensable damages. Generally, the victim is entitled to reimbursement for:
- Income lost because they cannot work because of the injuries and bus accident, and
- Time missed at work because the plaintiff was receiving treatment for their injuries.
Please note that using your vacation pay or sick leave is deemed the same as losing your income, and you are entitled to compensation.
Your right to compensation applies whether you are self-employed, have occasional or regular employment, part-time or full-time employment, a weekly or hourly, or monthly salary.
If you are employed, collecting evidence about the lost wages is straightforward. Request your boss, human resources manager, or supervisor to give you a document (with the organization's letterhead) that contains:
- Your name
- Job position
- Your pay rate
- How long you work
- Number of days or hours you have missed work after the bus accident
It is not a must that the document indicates whether you took vacation time or sick leave.
If you are self-employed, establishing your lost wages damages can be complicated. You can use evidence like a drop in invoices and billings, a calendar indicating your canceled appointment, and documents showing conferences and meetings you cannot attend.
Next, you should prove how much you could have made. If you have been earning a stable amount before your bus collision, you can demonstrate an average for that duration by presenting copies of invoices, billing, and payment received. Then depending on the amount, you were working and how much you were making, calculate your lost income.
Using your previous year's personal income tax return, you can also determine your lost wages. The only part you should present to the insurance adjuster is the annual gross income. If you had significantly low income during that year, include at least two years of returns to prove your typical earnings.
Why Having a Journal is Essential for Your Claim?
A journal/diary is a log you keep providing details about your pain and suffering and your injuries.
The journal aims to help your experienced lawyer understand your experience following your injuries. The information is particularly essential when assigning the value of pain and suffering damages that are more challenging to calculate than economic damages, including lost income and medical expenses.
The following are the main components of a journal:
Once it is possible, note down all accident facts as you recall them. Typically, a personal injury claim takes time to resolve and writing down details when they are fresh in mind assists you in recording them correctly.
Ensure you include the following in your journal:
- People involved
- Road conditions
- Weather conditions
- The bus driver's conduct
- Time of the day
Do not include an admission of guilt or fault in the entries.
Your Degree of Discomfort and Pain
Discuss the pain you experience, body parts injured, and your daily degree of pain. It is essential to note how the pain changes throughout the day, the effect of your medication, activities you no longer engage in due to the pain, and how your pain affects different everyday activities.
While you should be frank in the entries, do not exaggerate the pain levels.
How Your Injuries Have Impacted Your Life
If everyday activities are now challenging to do or you can no longer participate due to the injuries, highlight them in the journal. It can include household chores, hobbies, work activities, and family life.
Your Medical Details
Since recovery involves numerous medical appointments, use the journal to keep track of this information. Some of the details you can include:
- The type of medical specialist you consulted
- The distance traveled during each appointment
- How you are adhering to your treatment recommendations
- Your physician's treatment recommendations
- Cost of essential medical equipment
- Prescription cost
How Often You Should Make Entries
You ought to make entries in the personal injury journal as often immediately you have something to report. At first, the entries will be more frequent. Later, as the recovery progresses and the collision has a less significant effect on your daily life, you will find yourself recording fewer entries. However, try to make one entry weekly.
How Your Diary Can Help in Your Claim
An essential use of a journal is telling your physician about your experiences. After consulting with the doctor, use the notes to report any limitations and symptoms following the bus accident. You can even request the specialist to include a copy of the diary in the medical reports. Insurance adjusters will give your experiences more weight if it is contained in the medical records.
A diary makes your personal injury claim demand letter precise, strong, and specific. It also conveys to the insurer that you understand what you are doing, increasing the likelihood of receiving a fair compensation amount. If you have an attorney, give them a copy of the diary. They know how to use the journal to strengthen the claim.
Finally, you can include photos of any information better expressed by images instead of words, including visible injuries.
Photographs to Capture Following Your Bus Accident
Irrespective of how vividly you describe your injuries and bus accident, nothing makes the impression like a picture. The importance of photographs, what photos to capture, and how to take the photographs are discussed below.
Benefits of Photos in Your Claim
Often bus accident evidence is quickly removed. Nevada law requires motorists to pull their motor vehicles off the road, provided it is safe to do so to prevent further injuries and accidents. Also, road crews sweep away any debris and haul all damaged vehicles. Therefore, capturing photos of your accident scene can help you preserve your evidence.
Healing occurs gradually, and you will not notice daily changes. It is essential for the defendant, their insurance company, and the jury to understand what the injuries looked like immediately after the collision. That is why you should take images of all your visible injuries.
A common trick used by insurance firms is accusing plaintiffs of exaggerating their injuries. They even blame the victims for fabricating their damages. Additionally, they can claim that another person caused your accident, and you are now trying to pin your injuries on them. Without photos, it is easier for the insurer to make these arguments.
It is essential to capture the following forms of photographs when gathering evidence following your bus accident:
- Your injuries
- The accident scene
- Road conditions
- Inclement weather conditions
- Property damage
- Your clothing
- License plate, registration, insurance information of the bus
- Surrounding traffic signals
Pointers on Capturing Pictures
Any photo taken after the bus accident can potentially be used as proof to support your claim. Bearing that in mind, here are tips for taking images:
Decide Which Photographs to Capture
Before taking any snap, consider which photos will help the story of how your crash occurred. You can capture photographs of signs leading to your accident scene from different angles in your bus accident. You can include photos of the exact accident location and vehicle damage. Take wide shots of your overall accident scene.
Use the Available Camera
While you want to use a high-quality camera, photos taken immediately following the bus crash can be more beneficial than detailed pictures captured later. If you do not have a camera, use your smartphone.
Also, use a time and date stamp if available. The tool demonstrates the proximity between the time of your photographs and the time of your accident.
After capturing large photos of your accident scene, capture close-ups of essential accident points. Ensure you take these shots of various angles. These pictures can assist you in showing how and what caused the collision.
Consider Lighting and Weather
Weather plays a significant role in your pictures' quality. Consider how weather conditions like snow, rain, and sunlight affect the images. Use different flash intensities and settings to capture the same photos. If you believe the at-fault party will blame the weather for your accident, take photographs of the actual weather conditions.
Take as Many Pictures as Possible
Do not worry about taking perfect shots, particularly if you are limited to a specific amount of time. Nevertheless, take as many photos as you can from various distances and angles; hopefully, you take crucial aspects of your accident scene.
Negligence Per Se as Proof of Fault: Violation of Traffic Rules
In Nevada negligence per se, an individual is automatically presumed to act negligently if they violate a law designed to protect others from harm or accidents.
As the victim, you do not have to persuade the jury that the defendant's conduct was not cautious enough. Instead, if the defendant broke the law and, as a result, you were injured, the defendant's behavior is presumed to be negligence.
To prove negligence per se, the plaintiff must establish that:
- The defendant broke a regulation, ordinance, or statute
- The violation led to another person's injuries or death
- The injury or death was a form of harm that the statute was tailored to prevent
- The individual who sustained injuries or died was the person that the law sought to protect
How Witnesses Can Strengthen Your Bus Accident Claim
When filing your personal injury case, witnesses to your crash are precious. They can tell your version of the story and even provide more details to determine the defendant. A witness can also be a person that did not see the collision but saw you after the accident and can verify that you were injured.
Time is of the essence. You should contact witnesses and collect their information timely. Human memory fades quickly, and recollection becomes fuzzy that it is no longer beneficial. Additionally, witnesses can relocate.
Below are tips for using a witness to build your claim.
When You Know the Witness
If a loved one witnessed the collision or its impact, including the extent and nature of injuries, you do not have to go looking for them and worry they will relocate without your knowledge. However, obtain the facts of the bus accident while their memory is fresh and make notes. Then write a statement of what they tell you and have them sign it.
What Your Witness is a Stranger
A stranger can tell you about a hazardous condition that contributed to previous vehicle-related crashes in the exact location. They can also verify your side of the story of how your bus accident occurred.
Return to the accident scene and speak with individuals who work or reside within the accident scene. You can also find witnesses in a police report with witnesses' names, phone numbers, and addresses.
If you have witnesses whose statements indicate the defendant, act promptly. Some of the steps you can take include:
- Note down the witnesses' names, phone numbers, and addresses. Do not push them if they provide you only their address without an email address or phone number. You require them on your side, and irritating them will not do you good.
- Please speak with the witness about what they heard or saw and their location when they witnessed your accident.
- If the witness is cooperative, enquire whether it is okay if you wrote down their narrative and send it to them to check for precision. Clarify that you require written statements to support your case facts when speaking with the insurer. Once your witness consents, record or write down what they tell you. Then send them a copy of the statement, requesting them to analyze and sign it before re-sending it to you.
- If the witness is hesitant to provide their statement, quickly jot down their narrative and request them to go through it to ensure accuracy. Also, ask them to sign their description. Ensure you obtain their address and phone number. It helps you prove to the insurance adjuster that the statement is from an actual individual.
The Insurance Company Can Contact Your Witnesses
From time to time, the insurance adjuster can independently contact witnesses. That is why it is essential to reach witnesses out first and acquire what they heard or saw before the insurance company representative puts distorted or false memories into their heads. Tell them of the likelihood of the adjuster calling them.
It is not a must that witnesses discuss the bus collision with the insurer if they do not want to. They are also entitled to limit their degree of involvement to the account they have given you. However, you should be cautious.
While you can tell a witness of this right, do not ask them not to speak. It could interfere with the defendant's right to acquire information and hurt your claim.
How Vital are Medical Records to Your Claim?
Medical records establish a continuous course of treatment starting from the date of your accident or when you first visited your doctors. Notes from your medical doctor documenting the existence of the injuries establishes the relationship between these injuries and your accident.
Generally, medical proof takes the form of documentation about diagnostic tests and physical examinations conducted by medical practitioners that treated you. These pieces of evidence include:
- Notes on your patient charts
- Reports from emergency medical providers of your condition and the care they provided to you at the accident scene
- Your surgical notes
- Any diagnostic tests, including x-rays, MRIs, and CT scans ordered by your primary doctor
- Charts and notes from your occupational and physical therapists
- Lab analysis results like blood test
Your medical treatment records can assist you in verifying the following damages:
- Pain and suffering
- Medical expenses
- Therapy and rehabilitation costs
- Lost wages
During the insurance company's investigation, the firm can learn that you had a previous injury or pre-existing condition and blame it for your pain, your injuries' severity, or disability. However, that does not mean you are not entitled to compensation. You can use your previous medical notes and records to establish that your injuries are unrelated or your bus accident worsened your pre-existing health condition.
The value of your medical evidence is significantly affected when you delay seeking medical attention or there are gaps in your medical records because you stopped going for therapy and treatment. Depending on your injuries' severity, seeking immediate medical assistance following your accident is the most effective method to ensure the condition is well documented.
Once your treatment starts, continue uninterrupted medical help as long as your doctor recommends. Missing an appointment could be used by the defendant or their insurer as proof that you were not severely injured.
Expert Witness Testimony
An expert witness is a professional that probably did not see your bus collision but possesses specialized education, training, experience, or knowledge about a subject matter that they can present to support your injury claim. The experts conclude how your crash occurred and develop computer and physical models to present at the trial. Their testimony plays a significant role in proving responsibility and damages in personal injury claims.
If your lawyer plans to call expert witnesses at your trial date, they should name the experts before the court hearing and qualify them as experts in court.
Your type of injury and accident determine the form of expert witness required. Common expert witnesses used include:
- Economist — If you missed work due to your injuries, you should receive lost wages damages. An economist can help calculate your lost income and lost earning capacity, especially if self-employed.
- Vocational rehabilitation experts — These professionals can testify about your loss of earning capacity or incapacity to hold any job or the same employment in the future as a proximate and direct result of your bus accident injuries.
- Accident reconstructionist— When accident fault is disputed, an accident reconstructionist can shed light on how the road accident occurred and the defendant. The expert will use their knowledge and experience to calculate vehicles' location, speed, direction, momentums, and stopping distances.
- Phone record experts— Distracted driving is a common cause of bus accidents. As a result, phone records can be used to determine whether the bus driver was using their phone during the accident or not. The expert witness will check whether the timeline of phone use matched when your accident occurred.
- Medical practitioners — Doctors can testify about the extent, nature, and cause of your injuries after the bus crash. Additionally, they can testify about any permanent injury sustained due to the bus accident and whether you will need any medical procedure in the future, including surgeries or injections.
If you call 911 after your accident, the dispatcher will send a police officer to the accident scene. The officer will prepare a police report.
Generally, a police report is a summary of the collision containing the following information:
- All parties involved and their statement
- Accident's description
- Where and when the crash occurred
- Property damage description
- Opinions on who caused your collision
You can acquire a copy of the report from the police department.
The insurance provider will also obtain a copy of the report from the police and review it to learn what took place. However, they will conduct their independent investigation. The insurance adjuster can come to the same conclusion as the police officer but disagree with some portion of the police report.
Even when the adjuster disagrees with the report, having a police report that indicates the other party was at fault can strengthen your claim.
Contact an Experienced Personal Injury Lawyer Near Me
If you were injured in a bus accident caused by another person's negligence, you are entitled to compensation for losses incurred. However, you must present evidence that the defendant's conduct directly caused your injuries before receiving compensation. It also involves proving how your injuries occurred and the degree of the damages. Las Vegas Car Accident Attorney Law Firm can listen to your version of the story, review the case, and collect the required evidence to build your personal injury claim. Call our legal office today at 702-576-0010 to schedule a no-obligation and confidential consultation to discuss the available legal options.