When you appoint us, we will need this...
I am frequently approached by clients seeking my assistance in various legal matters. However, in order for me to determine whether I can be of help, I require access to the basic merits of the case. There have been instances where I have determined that I cannot contribute meaningfully or where my involvement could potentially conflict with my client’s interests, and as a result, I have declined to take on such cases.
It is important to note that many of my clients are not well-versed in the technical aspects of accident investigation, accident reconstruction, or expert testimony. As a result, I emphasize the importance of obtaining high-quality evidence and adhering to proper formatting standards. This ensures that our analysis is accurate and free from any potential flaws or inaccuracies.
To facilitate this process, I have created a comprehensive list of the types of evidence I require, along with a detailed explanation of the reasons for my formatting requirements. Prior to engaging my services, I encourage clients to review this list and provide me with all relevant evidence in the appropriate format to enable me to thoroughly evaluate and consider the matter at hand.
All the Evidence
As part of my appointed representation, it is crucial for me to obtain all available evidence. I highly recommend disclosing any and all evidence currently in your possession. I understand that certain evidence may cause apprehension or concern regarding its potential impact. However, withholding such evidence could result in accusations of concealing information in the event it is presented in court. Reviewing this evidence allows me to provide informed guidance on its presentation or explanation, based on the relevant facts of the matter.
The Accident Report.
I require a copy of the Accident Report Form, as it likely contains crucial elements necessary for my analysis. The form may contain pertinent details about the scene, such as the direction of vehicle movement, driver and witness information, and vehicle descriptions, of which I may not be privy to. Maintaining consistency with the information recorded at the scene is imperative in ensuring the accuracy of my report. It is in my best interest to avoid any discrepancies in my report and prioritize accuracy over attempting to justify any inconsistencies at a later time.
In order for me to initiate an investigation into your collision, I require fundamental details, even if extensive information is not yet attainable. At minimum, I require information such as the date, time, and location of the collision, as well as the vehicles involved and the direction of travel. Absence of these fundamental details or when dealing with older cases may hinder my ability to provide effective assistance, or necessitate additional efforts to acquire all necessary evidence.
Upon appointment in a matter, it is essential that I am provided with contact details for all pertinent parties. It is common for corporate clients to retain my services but neglect to provide crucial information such as the whereabouts of vehicles. Consequently, I am required to reach out and inquire further, leading to potential confusion and delays. Providing me with the contact details of all relevant parties involved in the case can help streamline communication and prevent any potential setbacks caused by missing information.
In instances where the location of a collision is provided, it is not uncommon for clients to misinterpret or inaccurately relay the details. Vague descriptions such as “outside Bloemfontein” can lead to ambiguity and errors in locating the correct scene. To ensure precise and efficient location of the incident, I encourage the provision of specific details such as GPS coordinates, map location, or a “pin-drop” using platforms such as WhatsApp. Utilizing accurate references such as a mile marker can also assist in preventing incorrect location and reporting of the collision dynamics.
Involved Party Details
To effectively represent my clients, I require a comprehensive list of all involved parties in the incident. This includes drivers, passengers, victims, and witnesses, as I may need to locate, contact, or interview them as necessary. In order to mitigate the risk of being surprised with new information or versions in court, it is crucial that I have access to as much information as possible regarding each involved party. Although I may not speak to every individual listed, having the option to do so allows me to make informed decisions in the course of my investigation and representation.
Photos, Sketches, Videos, etc.
I request that all available evidence, including photographs, videos, reports, versions, and statements, be provided to me in their original unaltered digital format. This can be done through the use of a USB drive, CD or DVD, email, or cloud storage platform. In order to best analyze and evaluate the evidence, it is necessary that I have access to the highest quality available, enabling me to enlarge, enhance, or crop sections as required. Providing unaltered original copies of digital evidence will help ensure the accuracy and reliability of my analysis and representation.
Obtaining the versions or experiences of drivers involved in collisions is essential to building an accurate and comprehensive understanding of the incident. While this may not be possible in certain criminal cases, having access to versions of involved parties in the third person can still provide valuable insight. Versions from individuals explaining what a driver told them, for example, can be of great assistance. As much as possible, I request that versions from drivers, victims, and witnesses be provided to me to consider in my reports. This will allow me to build a more complete and reliable picture of the incident, and ensure that my representation is as effective as possible.
Copies of Driving Licenses
As part of my investigation process, it is essential for me to obtain copies of the driving licenses of drivers involved in collisions. This enables me to determine if they were licensed to operate the specific class or type of vehicle, if they were authorized to drive the vehicle at the time of the collision, and to verify their personal details, such as their name and date of birth. Additionally, I am able to verify if the driver was in possession of a professional driving permit, if required by law. By having access to these documents, I am able to ensure that the driver is positively identified, authorized to operate the vehicle, and licensed to do so, which are all crucial factors in my investigations.
To properly examine and consider damages in cases involving multiple vehicles, I require accurate information on the location of all involved vehicles and their trailers. This includes knowing where they were towed to or their GPS coordinates, if possible. By examining all vehicles involved, I can properly assess damages and investigate claims of mechanical failure or faults. Therefore, it is important for me to have access to all involved vehicles in each case.
Vehicle Registration Papers
As part of my investigation process, I request the vehicle registration papers for all vehicles and trailers that were involved in the collision. This enables me to verify ownership of the vehicle, determine the masses of the vehicles, and confirm the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN). Additionally, I can ensure that the vehicle was properly registered and licensed at the time of the collision, and use the VIN to conduct research on the vehicle’s design and safety features. Lastly, it allows me to verify that the vehicle was not stolen or used illegally.
Vehicle Maintenance History
I kindly request copies of the maintenance history for vehicles involved in collisions for a minimum of six months prior to the event. Obtaining these records is crucial for me to rule out any allegations or claims of mechanical failure or insufficient maintenance. It is possible for a recurring issue to remain undetected until severe damage occurs, and these records provide me with the opportunity to consider or dismiss such concerns. Having access to this information in advance of court testimony allows me to be better prepared to address any such issues that may arise.
Vehicle Telemetry Data
As part of my investigation process, I require any data collected by Vehicle Telemetry Recording Systems, such as “Trackers,” Dash Cameras, Video/Telemetry Systems, Tachographs, etc. If your vehicle is fitted with any Video, Audio, or Telemetry Recording Devices, I strongly recommend that you make every effort to recover the data and provide it to me. This data is critical to my analysis of the collision event, verification of the Driver’s Versions, or interpretation of Witness or Victim statements. I advise you to act swiftly in preserving this evidence to avoid any loss or tampering of data.