Evidence refers to the information and documentation you present to prove your allegations in a personal injury case.
Florida tort laws require that you prove the other party caused your injury before you can receive compensation for damages.
Evidence is the way you prove your case.
What Types of Evidence Can I Use for a Personal Injury Claim in Florida?
The Florida Rules of Evidence govern what type of evidence is admissible in court. Only evidence admissible in court can be used to prove your allegations. The types of evidence generally admissible in a personal injury lawsuit include:
- Testimony – Testimony is one of the most common types of evidence in a court case. Testimony is evidence given by a witness under oath. Parties to the case, eyewitnesses, expert witnesses, and other parties with information relevant to the case may testify in court.
- Documentary Evidence – This type of evidence includes electronic files, written documents, photographs, videos, and audio records.
- Physical Evidence – Tangible items related to the allegations against the defendant or offered in defense of the claims.
- Circumstantial Evidence – Evidence that implies an alleged fact instead of directly offering proof of the fact. Circumstance evidence argues that the fact must be true because there is no other reasonable explanation.
Hearsay evidence is verbal testimony in court that cannot be confirmed by other evidence. Generally, heresy evidence is not admissible in court.
Examples of Evidence in a Personal Injury Trial
The type of evidence admitted in court depends on the facts and circumstances of the case. The type of case can also impact the evidence used to prove the claim. Evidence used in a personal injury lawsuit includes:
Accident Reports and Other Official Reports
After an accident or injury, it is crucial to report the incident to the correct party.
For traffic accidents, call 911 to report the crash. If you slip and fall on another party’s property, report the injury to the property owner. Dog bites should be reported to the dog’s owner, property owner, and animal control.
Having a written record of the accident or injury can be helpful when investigating the cause of your injury. Although the actual accident or police report might not be admissible in court, information from the report could be used as evidence or lead to other evidence.
Seeking prompt medical care after an injury or accident is essential. You must prove that the defendant’s conduct was the direct and proximate cause of your injuries. Medical records are pieces of evidence that support your allegations that the defendant caused you to sustain physical injuries.
Examples of medical records include, but are not limited to:
- Hospital records
- Ambulance records
- Records of diagnostic tests and lab reports
- Emergency room records
- Medical bills and statements
- Psychological records
- Records, statements, and opinions from your primary physician, surgeon, and other medical providers
Tell your doctors about all symptoms you experience. If your condition changes or worsens, notify your doctor immediately. Accurate and detailed medicals are vital evidence used to prove the defendant caused your injury.
If you are injured, get the names and contact information of everyone who witnessed the injury or accident. Jurors may believe eyewitnesses more than the parties in the case.
The parties are interested in the outcome, so their testimony favors their position. However, an eyewitness does not have an interest in the outcome of the case. Many jurors believe this makes eyewitness testimony more credible.
Photographs and Videos
Photographs of the accident scene and videos of how the accident occurred can be compelling evidence at trial. It is difficult to argue with a video or photograph. Attorneys gather evidence from all sources, including traffic cameras, dash cams, witness videos, and nearby surveillance cameras.
Try to take pictures and make a video of the accident scene. Also, take photographs of your injuries. Photographs of your injuries are more persuasive than a verbal description.
If you claim lost wages as part of your economic damages, you need evidence that you missed time from work. A statement from your employer can prove when you did not work. Remember, your medical records need to reflect that you were unable to work during this time to claim loss of income because of an accident or personal injury.
Additionally, you need employment records that prove how much you would have earned had you been able to work. Examples of evidence of a loss of earnings include pay stubs, tax returns, income statements, and employment contracts.
Receiving Damages for a Personal Injury Claim
The strength of your evidence directly impacts whether you receive a fair amount for your personal injury claim. If you prove the other party caused your injuries, you can recover compensation for:
- Economic damages (i.e., medical bills, diminished earning capacity, lost wages, and out-of-pocket expenses)
- Non-economic damages (i.e., pain and suffering, decreased quality of life, permanent impairment, etc.)
Punitive damages are awarded in a small number of personal injury cases. These damages do not compensate you for losses. Instead, they punish the defendant. Our lawyers analyze the evidence in your case to determine if it supports an award for punitive damages.
Schedule a Free Consultation With Our Personal Injury Attorneys
Our legal team investigates the cause of your personal injury to gather evidence to prove causation and fault to establish liability. We aggressively pursue all legal claims to recover compensation for your damages. Call our law firm to schedule a free case evaluation with an experienced St. Petersburg personal injury attorney.