The number one way that an attorney can make a difference is by starting the investigation of your case as early as possible. It is critical to explore the individual facts and circumstances of your case as early as possible. One of the most important things that needs to be done at the very beginning and early in the case is to identify and locate critical witnesses to the case. The reason why that’s so important is that witnesses can come and go.
Let’s say it’s an auto accident case. The witnesses may be identified in the accident report, but what happens if you go to contact that person a year down the road and they’ve moved? All their contact information is no longer valid. Their phone number doesn’t work. They’re no longer at the address. Then, you really have to go through a lot to track them down. If you had contacted them very early, it would have been easier to obtain a statement from them.
Another example is a premises liability, like a slip and fall case on a business. What happens if they no longer keep payroll, or that employee no longer works at that place where you fell? It is going to be hard to track down that employee to take a statement from that individual. That’s why it’s so critical to try to identify these individuals, conduct interviews, and take a sworn statement from them as soon as possible. Another important part of the investigation is to go to the scene and take photographs. You want to have photographs that are shortly after the accident so you have an actual depiction of the scene, as opposed to major changes such as building or construction that may have occurred since the accident. You want to capture the scene shortly after the accident.
Another important part of an investigation is to obtain surveillance video if that exists. As you can imagine, some businesses may re-record over their surveillance video within a day, a couple of days, a couple of weeks, or a month. If you contact them a month after the accident to request surveillance video, it may be gone. So you want to obtain that as early as possible.
You also want to have all this information and determine whether or not you want to have an expert witness to be in the case, and having this information may help you determine whether you need an expert, and what type of expert you need for your case. So, hiring an experienced attorney who does a lot of personal injury cases can help you, walk you through the case, determine what your needs are, and help you in dealing with the insurance company. If you’d like to talk to an experienced attorney, we encourage you to give our office a call at 850-898-9904.