Personal injury claims often require some degree of investigation. It's natural for clients to wonder exactly how a personal injury lawyer will look into a case. Many of the same resources come in handy for checking out a wide range of cases, fortunately. Read on for more information about the best investigative tools available to a personal injury attorney.
From cops and first responders to doctors and specialists, the simplest way to investigate an incident is often to read the reports. Professional reports often provide details that can be added to a demand package or entered into evidence, too. They provide compelling insights from parties that are unimpeachable. Consequently, professional reports tend to sway the opinions of claims adjusters, judges, and juries.
A personal injury attorney will spend a lot of time reading incident reports. Experience gives them an eye for certain details, and reports often make it easier to find witnesses, surveillance footage, maintenance logs, and other bits of evidence. Reports are also frequently useful in reconstructing the events that led to an injury.
There's a lot to be said for simply asking people who were at the scene what happened. Oftentimes, a personal injury attorney will work from a report to develop questions for witnesses. They can then talk the witness through the incident and see how their version of events matches with reports and interviews with others.
If an interview is compelling enough, a lawyer may record it or even perform a sworn deposition. Swearing is especially useful if an attorney is worried that a witness might fudge the details in a contested case to avoid responsibility or cover for someone else.
Texts, emails, chats, and social media messages have all become immensely useful tools for injury investigations in recent years. A major benefit of investigating digital messages is that they tie conversations together. If a store manager insists they texted an employee to deal with a hazard at the business, for example, both parties' phones may provide evidence of whether that did or didn't happen.
Many locations of accidents have little quirks that are hard to understand in the abstract. Walking through a scene can give a personal injury lawyer a sense of who saw what. Also, it allows them to see the potential hazards, whether there are warning signs, and how people move through the area. An attorney will also take photos during a walkthrough so they can refer to them later.