Were you involved in an accident where proof of fault is hard to find? Maybe it happened during a rainy day that washed a lot of the obvious evidence away, or it could have been a non-lethal accident that didn't critically injure anyone and may not be at the top of everyone's lists-- except with you, your mechanic, and your insurance company. There are new forms of evidence in the digital age that could have gotten the information you need, but it's one part luck and two parts investigative creativity to collect everything. Without tampering with evidence, here are a few ways to gather the evidence you need.
Always Consult A Lawyer Before Beginning
The term "tampering with evidence" is not as simple and limiting as grabbing a piece of debris or physically destroying evidence. If there's any question that you could have altered the evidence in your favor-- especially if opposing lawyers or a mediator finds out what you've been looking for-- it could invalidate the evidence for the sake of fairness.
A lawyer can talk to you about what is considered tampering in your state, or what your legal opponent and appointed judge may consider. This can mean the difference between asking for a copy of a recording or getting access to a computer with records yourself, and some tempting situations need to be avoided at all costs.
In general, don't touch any computers or surveillance systems that hold the evidence you need. This includes smartphones, tablets, and other mobile devices that hold data, because even if you don't know how to edit information on a device, it's conceivable that someone could.
If you run into a situation where you need the information and the information holder doesn't know how to deliver the information or make a copy, let an auto accident and local authorities know so that a neutral professional can handle the issue.
Types Of Digital Evidence Sources
Local stores have video cameras, and many large factories, hospitals, and other private sector business buildings have cameras pointing into their parking lots. You're working with luck here, but it's not unheard of for a security camera to be pointing towards highways and other roads not part of the company's property.
Businesses typically have training and a specific process for handing evidence over to authorities. Usually, you just need to ask if a recording is available from a certain time for your wreck and they can look for you or allow you to see the recording. From there, you or the company can contact authorities to have a copy delivered officially.
In some cases, you can get a personal copy as well. Just in case, travel with a small pack of CDs, DVDs, and a USB drive or two on a key ring or something else to protect against dropping or otherwise losing the small devices. This way, a copy can be made without needing to use the company's resources--an especially helpful service by you, especially if the company doesn't keep recording media on hand.
Closed circuit television, dashcams, webcams, and other private surveillance systems are becoming more popular in residential users. There are also smartphones and other mobile devices that come out quickly during accidents, so put out a request for info on social media or ask around a few local public areas to learn about any private recordings for a copy.
Contact an auto accident lawyer to discuss other digital evidence gathering concerns.