Proving fault in a personal injury claim is the most important part of establishing your right to compensation. Documenting your accident and injuries is an essential part of the process. That is why it is important to begin your documentation as soon as possible.
Immediately after the accident has occurred you should:
- Begin documenting the accident. You can’t rely soley on your memory of the accident as evidence for the claims process. Documenting the scene of the accident is the best thing you can do for your case. If you are able to, take photos and videos of the accident scene with your mobile phone. In addition, you should also document your injuries. You will have the medical records, but make sure to take photos and videos of your injuries as well.
- Get the names, contact info and testimony of witnesses. If the injury occurred in a public place, there may be many witnesses who saw the collision or whatever else caused your injury. If you are able to record their contact information, make a point of it. Photos of their drivers’ licenses is an easy way to make that happen. If they are willing, you might try to record a statement from each witness of what they saw. This is often better left to the investigator, but if you are able to get an initial recording and the witnesses are willing, you should do it. Ask each witness if he or she is willing to be contacted later by your attorney.
- Give your statement. In many instances, the authorities will be notified of the accident and will arrive at the scene to carry out their own investigation. You maybe required to give a description of what happened. Provide as many details as you can. Victims often forget details about accidents as time goes by. However, as a matter of practice, you should never admit fault in any statement you give to the police or other authority and do not give a statement to an insurance adjuster unless or until you have discussed it with our attorneys.
Checklist of documents for personal injury cases
If you’ve been involved in an accident, you will soon find out that the claim process involves mountains of paperwork. It is important to ensure that you have the right documentation to improve your chances of being awarded a settlement that is sufficient to fully pay for your medical expenses and lost wages among other things.
- Police reports. It is your right to receive a copy of the police report of the accident. You may be charged a fee to obtain the crash report. If a police report was not made by a police officer at the scene of the accident, it may be possible for you to submit a report to the police department no later than 10 days after the crash day.
- Medical bills and records. Your medical records are an important piece of evidence. They will establish the injuries you suffered as a result of the accident. Your medical bills will be used as part of the process of determining the value of your claim.
- Videos and pictures of the accident. These will help to demonstrate fault. They are important when negotiating a settlement. Include time and date stamps to make them even more persuasive.