Think of the acronym ABC : Ambulance Before Cop. When an accident occurs, first responders must take action in rescuing the injured victims. Ambulance Before Cop is the most logical scenario. Paramedics know how to handle the injured, and the cops do best with crowd control and evaluating a scene. Apply ABC to the order of collecting evidence, and you can never go wrong. Remember that:
- Ambulance or fire/rescue and accident scene all fall into the same category. Both of these have to do directly with the accident and not your client. Both are the locations and people you must contact to gather the evidence needed to re-enact your case and prove negligence.
The A of the ABC
The ambulance or fire/rescue will always represent the accident scene. The scene is where your client was rescued, and this is where the case began.
- Collect any still photos and video from the accident report or scene. These can be collected from ambulance (paramedics), police or fire department.
- Look around the accident scene. Do you see any DOT (Department of Transportation) cameras? Gather that footage, it will be powerful for building your case. How about surrounding businesses? Scope out closed captioned television cameras strategically placed for video surveillance. Any footage obtained will provide pieces to the case that might be your winning edge.
Now to the Men in Blue
The cops might be the last place you want to go collect evidence, but police can provide valuable evidence for your case. Collect the filed police report which will keep the evidence and accident in order. An official report helps to keep the details of the accident organized for you, the trial judge, and the client. Ask for any dashboard-cam, helmet-cam and any video/audio from police, fire and paramedics. All of these things will enhance your case and add substance in your ability to prove your case.
There are lots of places to find graphic demonstrative images and video for the liability and damages of your case. An easy way for yourself or paralegal to make sure you have covered all your bases in searching is our Forensic Media Checklist. Click on the comments below, send us a request and we will be glad to email you a pdf of this checklist for you to print for each of your case files. This will greatly aid you and your staff to the ABC's of gathering graphic, visual evidence.
Chris Ballard, the pioneer of video for litigation, has been producing demonstrative evidence videos, mediation & settlement documentaries for over 40 years. As the Principal of Omni Video, Chris produces videos for many Inner Circle members as well as other noted trial lawyers from California to Florida. He can be reached at 800.888.5879