Although knowing the law is vital to any lawsuit, usually what makes or breaks a successful lawsuit is what measures you take to collect the facts to your case.
As, in most cases, your lawyer will not be involved in your case at such an early stage, it falls to you to know what to do to preserve evidence that may later become paramount to the success of your case. In this regard, the following are some of the things you should be doing:
They say that a picture speaks a thousand words, and nothing can be more graphic and useful for a jury to identify with in court than a picture. So, if you have a cell phone camera, use it to take some photos. Otherwise, get a camera so that you can take photos of what has happened.
Preserve the evidence
Beside taking photos to preserve the sense/picture of what has transpired, you should also take immediate steps to protect the evidence – for example, if the case centers on a broken kettle, keep the broken kettle, don’t just throw it away.
You should remember that preserving the evidence also means keeping copies of all relevant documents and correspondence relating to the case. As soon as possible you should hand these over to your lawyer and you should not send any correspondence relating to the case without first having it vetted by your lawyer for any potential damage contained in the correspondence.
Keep a record of the events
As soon as the event that caused you to consider legal action has transpired, take a note of what happened leading up to the event and the event itself. You should then keep a notebook of all matters relating to the case. Moreover, if you have sustained an injury, detail that injury and, if possible, include x-rays and medical reports. All of these are needed because the human brain has been known to forget exactly what transpired – a fact which is not helped by the length of time it takes for most cases to come to court.
Included in keeping records of the events that took place, where possible you should also ask witnesses to the event to give you a statement. Here, as a minimum, you should get their name, address and telephone number. In an ideal world, you’ll also be able to ask them to give you an oral statement of what happened by recording this on a tape-machine. But, whatever you do, do not force people to give you a statement of what happened – at least, not at this early stage.
In the event that you have been injured and as a result are unable to undertake any of these steps, then you should make sure that someone close to you, such as a family member, is charged with the responsibility of collecting all the evidence and keeping a record of what has happened. Indeed, if you are reading this and you are not the one who has been hurt, but your loved one has, then you should keep records of what transpired for them so as to help them in their future lawsuit.
This information is for informational and educational purposes only, and is not intended to take the place of an attorney or legal counsel. Please consult directly with an attorney for any legal questions you may have.