What Information Should You Collect Before a Car Accident Claim?
The first few weeks after a car accident can be difficult. You’re still finding your footing again in your day-to-day routine, adjusting to injuries, going to medical appointments, getting a new vehicle, and wondering how to move forward. If you decide to pursue a personal injury claim against an at-fault driver, you may not be sure where to start, let alone if you have the evidence to start a case. Before beginning a claim, you will want to collect the following key pieces of information to present to a lawyer.
Right After an Accident
In the first few minutes of an accident, you will want to ensure you and your passengers are safe. This may mean pulling over or safely stepping out of the car to the side of the road. After reaching a safe distance from the accident, call 911. They will dispatch police officers and paramedics to your location. The paramedics will access any immediate wounds or trauma and assist in transporting you to a hospital for further diagnosis, while the officers will begin an investigation.
Both these steps are paramount to collecting evidence in your personal injury claim. The treatment you receive at the hospital will outline the initial injuries you sustained as a result of the accident and any lasting trauma. Your medical record will detail the baseline damages you are seeking to recover in the claim.
In turn, the police report will outline how the accident occurred and where fault lies. When you speak to officers, make sure to avoid admitting fault and liability. Just focus on providing the facts to the best of your abilities. This report will form the basis for who was liable and why you are seeking damages from them.
If it is safe for you to do so, you will want to collect the insurance information from the other driver, take photos/videos of the accident (including your vehicle), and collect contact information from any witnesses. For smartphone users, you can also enable your phone’s camera to record the location, date, and time of the photos/video, which can help verify any additional questions you or your attorney may have later.
To recap, the key pieces of evidence you will want to collect after an accident include:
- Medical records
- Other driver’s insurance information
- Witness contact information
Another invaluable set of documents are your most recent pay stubs and W-2’s. If you are on sick leave or have to change jobs because of your injuries, you may claim lost income in your case. To do this, you will need to demonstrate how the accident affected your career financially. Wages prior to the accident will help form the basis for this.
While Preparing Your Case
Once you have decided to file a personal injury claim, you will want to present the above information to your attorney. They will review your case and legal options with you to help determine the best route for compensation. If you are accepted as a client, the majority of the work will be passed to your attorney, who will begin a more in-depth investigation of the accident. This may include collecting witness statements and police reports, but also may include the other driver’s traffic records, available surveillance footage, expert opinions, and copies of maintenance reports on any vehicles involved in the collision.
On your side of things, you will want to continue seeing your doctor for any related conditions, such as physical therapy, surgeries, and check-ups. This information will be added to your medical records to demonstrate the extent of your accidents.
In addition, you will want to keep a personal journal of your injuries, limitations, and emotions after an accident. This information may help identify if you have any psychological trauma, such as PTSD or anxiety, that may require treatment because of the accident. Your doctor may refer you to a therapist or psychiatrist, and any related bills will be added to your list of damages. The emotional trauma will also be included with your “pain and suffering” damages.
Your attorney may request additional records, but your primary focus should be on getting treatment and recovering. The legwork will be handled by your attorney and their investigators, letting you relax from the stress of the situation.
Bringing Your Records to a Lawyer
The personal injury attorneys at Lependorf & Silverstein, P.C. have handled multiple car accident cases and know the key information that is necessary to receive compensation. If we take on your case, we will employ our more than 25 years of experience to oversee the investigation of your case. Our firm is a member of the Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum and we have won multiple settlements for victims of negligent drivers. If you have been injured in a car accident that was someone else’s fault, please reach out to us at (609) 240-0040.
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