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The Role of Evidence in Proving Your Personal Injury Case

by | Jun 15, 2024

In Wisconsin, personal injury law enables those who have been harmed or injured as a result of negligence or intentional actions of another party to seek compensation for their losses. In order to successfully prove a personal injury case in the state, the burden of proof lies with the plaintiff, who must demonstrate that the defendant acted negligently and that this negligence directly caused their injuries. 

Additionally, under Wisconsin law, there is a comparative negligence system in place that allows for recovery even if the plaintiff is partially at fault for their own injuries, although any compensation awarded may be reduced accordingly. As such, navigating personal injury claims can be complex and stressful without legal expertise and representation to ensure one’s rights are protected, and justice is served.

At VHD Law, our firm provides knowledgeable and experienced legal counsel and representation to help clients navigate the stressful process of personal injury law. If you have been hurt in an accident and are trying to collect evidence in advance of filing a personal injury law case, contact us for a free case review.

The Importance of Evidence in Personal Injury Law Claims

Without sufficient evidence, it can be challenging for a plaintiff to accurately prove fault after an accident occurs. In order to establish liability, courts in Wisconsin rely on concrete evidence such as witness testimony, documents, expert opinions, and physical evidence––these forms of documentation help demonstrate to the court that the defendant breached their duty of care and caused harm to the plaintiff. In terms of damages, evidence is crucial for accurately assessing the financial or emotional losses incurred by the plaintiff due to the defendant’s actions. But first, the plaintiff must have a firm understanding of their responsibility in proving their case.

The Burden of Proof

This refers to the responsibility of the plaintiff to provide sufficient evidence to convince a judge or jury that the defendant is liable for their injuries. This concept is crucial in establishing negligence and determining financial compensation for victims. According to Wisconsin statutes, to prove a personal injury claim, the plaintiff must demonstrate four key elements: duty of care owed by the defendant, breach of that duty, causation between the breach and the injuries sustained, and damages resulting from those injuries. 

  • Duty refers to the legal obligation owed by one party to another to act reasonably or in a specific manner to prevent harm or injury.
  • A breach occurs when the defendant fails to meet this duty of care, such as through negligence or recklessness.
  • Causation must then be proven, showing that the defendant’s breach directly caused the plaintiff’s injuries.
  • Finally, damages are assessed based on the extent of the harm suffered by the plaintiff, including medical fees, lost income, pain and suffering, and other losses incurred as a result of the injury.

Meeting this burden requires thorough investigation, expert testimony, and compelling evidence such as medical records, witness statements, and accident reconstruction reports. Failure to meet this burden can result in a case being dismissed or receiving minimal compensation.

Evidence of Liability


Establishing negligence through evidence is necessary for building a solid case to prove liability on the part of the defendant. In order to successfully demonstrate negligence, plaintiffs must gather and present various forms of evidence, plus any relevant documentation related to the incident. This evidence must clearly show that the defendant breached their duty of care towards the plaintiff, directly causing the injuries sustained. 

Types of Evidence in Personal Injury Cases

In personal injury cases, various types of evidence play an important role in establishing liability and determining the extent of damages. Some common forms of evidence include medical records, expert testimony, witness statements, photographs or videos of the accident scene, police reports, and documentation of lost wages or medical expenses. 

  • Medical records hold particular weight in these cases as they provide objective evidence of injuries sustained and treatment received. 
  • Expert testimony from professionals such as doctors, accident reconstruction specialists, or economists can help clarify complex issues and establish causation. 
  • Witness statements are valuable for corroborating events surrounding the incident. 
  • Physical and digital evidence, including photographs or video footage, can offer visual proof of the conditions at the time of the accident. 

By meticulously compiling and presenting this evidence in court, personal injury attorneys can effectively prove that the defendant failed to exercise reasonable care, thus holding them accountable for compensating the victim for their damages. What’s more, a skilled and experienced personal injury attorney can strategically use this evidence to negotiate favorable settlements or secure successful verdicts in trials.

Use of Expert Testimony and Accident Reconstruction 

Accident reconstruction and expert testimony can be used to provide an objective analysis of the events that led to the accident. Accident reconstruction involves using scientific methods and techniques to piece together what happened during a car crash, slip and fall incident, or any other type of accident. Experts, such as engineers, medical professionals, or forensic specialists, are often called upon to provide their opinions based on their specialized knowledge and experience. This type of expert testimony can help clarify complex technical details for the jury, judge, or arbitrator and ultimately assist in determining liability and damages in a personal injury case. By relying on accident reconstruction and expert testimony, attorneys can build strong cases that are supported by solid evidence and increase their chances of securing favorable outcomes for their clients.

Importance of Medical Records in Substantiating Injuries

Medical records play an equally important role in substantiating injuries sustained by individuals seeking compensation for damages. These records provide irrefutable evidence of the extent and severity of injuries, serving as a foundation for determining the appropriate amount of compensation to be awarded. Medical records also help establish a direct link between the accident or incident and the resulting injuries, proving causation and liability on the part of the negligent party.

Collecting and Preserving Evidence

What to do Following an Injury  

Immediately after an accident, plaintiffs must take certain steps to collect evidence that can be used to support their personal injury claim. First and foremost:

  • Victims should seek medical attention to ensure that their injuries are properly documented and treated. 
  • Gather contact information from any witnesses present at the scene of the accident. Take photographs of the accident site, including any visible injuries or property damage. 
  • Preserve any physical evidence related to the incident, such as damaged clothing or equipment. 
  • Keep detailed records of all medical treatment received and expenses incurred as a result of the injury. 
  • Consult with a qualified personal injury attorney who can guide you through the legal process and help you gather additional evidence to support your claim. 

Following these steps promptly and thoroughly documenting the details of all injuries can increase the chances of obtaining fair compensation for damages in a personal injury case.

Legal Tools for Evidence Preservation

In Wisconsin, there are several legal tools available to victims to ensure the preservation of evidence crucial to a case. One such tool is the preservation letter, a formal request issued by an attorney to all parties involved in the case, notifying them of their obligation to preserve all relevant evidence. Failure to comply with a preservation letter could result in severe consequences for the party neglecting their duty to safeguard potential evidence. The state also follows the spoliation of evidence doctrine, which allows for sanctions against parties who intentionally destroy or lose important evidence that could have been used in litigation. 

By utilizing these legal tools effectively, attorneys can secure key evidence that may be vital in proving liability and obtaining just compensation for their clients.

The Role of Legal Counsel in Evidence Gathering

Having legal representation behind you during a personal injury case is essential. An attorney can help with building evidence for a personal injury case by conducting thorough investigations, gathering relevant documentation, and interviewing key witnesses. They have the legal expertise to navigate the complexities of the Wisconsin legal system and ensure that all evidence is gathered in accordance with state laws and rules of procedure. 

Attorneys can also work with experts such as accident reconstruction specialists or medical professionals to strengthen the case with their professional opinions. They can also handle negotiations with insurance companies and opposing counsel to secure a fair settlement or represent their clients in court proceedings, if necessary. Overall, attorneys provide invaluable assistance in building a strong evidential foundation to support their client’s personal injury claims and ultimately achieve justice on their behalf.

If you have a personal injury claim and wish to have VHD Law in your corner, our attorneys are available to answer any initial questions or concerns. 

Contact us today to learn more and schedule your free case consultation.

Written by Vanden Heuvel & Dineen, S.C.

Personal Injury

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