How Do I Gather Evidence for My Louisiana Auto Accident Claim?
The success of personal injury claims arising from auto accidents often depends on factors such as fault, severity of vehicle damage and insurance coverage.
Proving each of these elements can seem like a daunting task, but there are resources you can depend on to ease this burden.Accident Reports
One of the first important aspects of preparing a personal injury case is obtaining whatever accident reports are available.
A report will likely be filed if the police are called to the scene of the accident. This is why it is absolutely critical to immediately involve the authorities in your accident. If you are in a car wreck, call the police—every time. The police report is one of the most important pieces of evidence in your case, and it’s important for you to obtain a copy of that report as quickly as possible.
There are two ways of acquiring this information.
The first is at the scene of the accident. The investigating officer won’t hand you the report, but they will give you an item number with which you will be able to order a copy.
Secondly, you can obtain a police report from your insurance agent or company. Your insurer will request the report for you and will often release it.
The entire police report is not admissible as evidence because of “hearsay;” however, it can play an important role in fact finding and fault determination.The Subpoenas and Subpoena Duces Tecum
Subpoenas are legal documents that can be filed by your attorney to compel witnesses to testify.
A subpoena is a court order requiring a person to attend a court proceeding and give testimony in that proceeding. It’s a way to require that a witness will be present in court. If your attorney intends on subpoenaing a witness, Louisiana Code of Civil Procedure Article 1353 requires that the witness fees are to be deposited with the court. The witness must be paid an appearance fee for their participation in a trial, and, if the witness lives further than 25 miles from the courthouse, additional funds must be deposited for mileage.
A subpoena duces tecum is a court order requiring the production of items or documents as evidence. Examples of evidence that can be obtained by a subpoena duces tecum are:
- Business records
- Wage records
- Medical reports
- Telephone records
- Electronic documents
- Any other writings or written documentation relevant to your claim
Gathering testimony through the issuance of a subpoena, or records through a subpoena duces tecum, are only some methods available for gathering information relevant to your claim.
For further details of how to pursue a personal injury case, please contact the personal injury experts at Anderson, Dozier, Blanda & Saltzman at (337) 233-3366.