The Importance of Keeping Evidence in a Product Liability Case in Florida

Searcy Denney Scarola Barnhart & Shipley
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Searcy Denney Scarola Barnhart & Shipley

Product liability cases can be some of the most complex matters in the area of personal injury law. Such cases involve complicated fact patterns as well as various issues of law. Prevailing in these types of cases requires that you be able to prove that you were, in fact, injured by the defective product and that your injuries did not stem from some other cause. An important part of proving how you were injured is keeping and maintaining evidence immediately after the accident.

Why Keeping Evidence of How You Were Injured is Important

In order to receive compensation in a product liability case you must show that a product was defectively designed, manufactured, or marketed. You must also show that you were injured while using the product as it was intended to be used or in a way that you were led to believe that it could be used. This, in other words, means that you must have evidence of how the accident occurred. Failing to present such evidence can result in you or your loved ones receiving nothing at worst or a reduced compensation amount at best.

Preserving Evidence Allows You to Paint a Full Picture to the Jury

If your case proceeds to trial, then decisions regarding liability and damages will be made by the jury. In order to demonstrate that you were actually injured by the defective product it will be important to give the jurors a context of what you were doing and how you were using the product when the injury occurred. It will also be important to show you were immediately harmed by the incident. Presenting the actual defective product, photographs of the area in which the incident occurred, and other information helps give the jurors a “full picture” of what you have been through.

Establishing That Your Injuries Were Actually Caused by the Defective Product

It is common for defendants to claim that injuries they have suffered were not caused by the defective product. They will often claim that, instead, you already had the injury at the time of the incident or that you were injured by some event that occurred after the incident. Documentary and photographic proof of what occurred helps you to establish that your injuries were, in fact, caused by the defective product.

Establishing Your Pain and Suffering

Pain and suffering are a key part of any compensation which you may receive. Photos of your injuries as well as detailed notes as to how you felt each day, can help paint a picture of how the incident has actually impacted your life. This impact can include physical pain, time spent traveling to and from medical appointments, and other factors which have created stress, frustration, and aggravation. It is not enough to simply tell the jury that you have suffered. You need to be able to provide specifics.

How to Keep and Preserve Evidence After You Have Been Injured By a Defective Product

There are several ways in which you can preserve evidence after you have been harmed by a defective product. Each will be discussed in turn.

Keep the Product

One of the most important steps to take is to preserve the defective product itself as much as possible. If the product has exploded or burned, then an effort should be made to keep any remains. Also, in many situations, the product will be close to its original state. It is best to keep the product in as close a state as possible to how it was when the incident occurred. If possible, it is suggested that you keep it in some type secure box or other area where it will not be tampered with or damaged further.

Take Photographs and Record Video

Taking photographs and recording videos of what has happened can be compelling evidence. In today’s age of smartphones, making a record of the incident can be done with relative ease. It is strongly suggested that you take photos of the product itself, the surrounding area, and your injuries.

It will be important to ensure that your photographs and videos are backed up and that they are not stored on a single device. The former assures that your evidence is always available while the latter can lead to the loss of important information. Modern smartphones have auto backup features available which will store your information on the cloud. It is strongly suggested that a) you make sure these backup features are enabled and b) you utilize them.

Keep a Journal

It is important to write down what happened immediately after the incident. Doing so allows you to write a description while the event is still fresh in your mind. After that it will be important to keep a regular journal. You should make notes regarding all of your trips to the hospital or other care facilities. It is also suggested that you make daily notes as to how much pain you were in and how the incident is affecting your life.

Discuss All of Your Records With Your Attorney

It is important that you provide the defective product and all of your documented evidence to your attorney. This is true even if you think a piece of information is trivial or not relevant. It is not uncommon for a piece of information, which seems insignificant in nature, to have an important impact on the case. By erring on the side of providing your attorney with all possible information, you arm your counsel with more facts that can aid your case.

It is important that you contact a lawyer as soon as possible in addition to documenting the ordeal which you have been through. Counsel will take immediate steps to ensure that your interests are protected.

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DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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