Evidence Needed for a Car Accident Injury Case
For those who are the victim of a car accident, the process of seeking compensation is incredibly difficult and frustrating. Dealing with the legal claims process is always a challenge and is only made more difficult by physical injury and disruption to daily life. Nonetheless, one of the key areas that the victim needs to focus on is gathering evidence to provide their injury lawyer when making a personal injury claim. Clients often ask what type of evidence they need to submit when they hire us for their injury. That’s why we wanted to put together an essential checklist for gathering the evidence necessary for your personal injury claim in fault based States like Ohio, Georgia and many others. It is incredibly important to gather evidence if you were the victim of an injury. What evidence you need after an accident or injury is fairly complex and depends on the facts of your case but there are a few critical steps that you should always take to support your claim. Keep reading for an outline of those steps and how you can help your personal injury lawyer maximize your claim with strong evidence of what happened.
Seek Medical Treatment and Report the Incident to Authorities
Immediately after the accident, the most important thing is to seek medical attention for your injuries or any others who may have suffered an injury and to notify the authorities. Once this is done, collecting evidence contemporaneously with the accident is a priority as well. If you can do so safely, document the severity of the injuries with pictures and the scene of the accident. You should do this if you are injured for another reason as well if you can do so safely. Once the scene of the accident is safe and any injured parties have sought medical attention, you should report the accident to law enforcement to ensure a police report is filed. Police reports are one of the key pieces of evidence used to document the incident and can be the most important piece of evidence in your case. In most states, leaving the scene of an accident without reporting it can even be a crime. After the accident itself, there are a number of things you should do to get all the evidence related to the claim.
What Evidence Should You Have After a Car Accident?
Photographs/Videos: It’s important to capture photographs and videos so that you can document the accident scene. This will provide evidence of what happened and capture visuals for the extent of damage caused. Vehicle damage and recording any visible injuries help to document the damages sustained when the claim is ultimately made to the relevant parties.
Police Reports: After some time passes, you should always request the official police report. If you are represented, you should send this to your injury lawyer. The police report is seen as a highly credible and even definitive account of what took place during the accident and who was at fault. This can be critical to recovering for your injury claim, particularly in fault based States like Ohio and Georgia.
Witness statements: It can be helpful for your case to identify witnesses, collect their contact information, and in most cases, their statement regarding the events leading up to the accident will be recorded as part of the police report. This further bolsters the evidence of what happened at the scene of the accident which is vital to arguing your claim.
Property damage documentation: If your car was damaged but not totaled, having repair estimates is going to be important in determining the amount to be paid for the property damage caused by the accident. Usually in cases with total loss, the insurance company will want to verify the loss so any documentation regarding where the totalled vehicle was taken and photographs of the extent of the damages can be important to have on hand.
Medical records: One of the most important categories of evidence after an accident is medical records showing treatment needed for the injuries. This is important because it usually will serve as the lion’s share of economic loss if shown to have been proximately caused by the accident. Medical bills and treatment received are used to evaluate the claim and start to get an idea of the amount of total loss sustained by the victim when seeking compensation for the injuries.
Lost wages and income documentation: In addition to medical bills, some cases involve lost wages which may be part of the claim. In such cases, evidence will likely be required as to the amount of pay lost. This usually means pay stubs, tax records, employer letters and evidence of any special circumstances like jobs, opportunities or promotions impacted by the injuries. It may also involve some overlap with the medical records to link the loss of these employment benefits to the medical conditions involved.
Communication records: Always be sure to keep any correspondence you have received regarding the accident. This usually includes letters from insurance companies, emails or text messages about the accident, or communication from medical providers. It is extremely important to document any of these parts of the case especially if you intend to hire a personal injury lawyer as they will need this information to quickly contact the parties involved.
Personal journal or diary: It can be very helpful to have a journal, diary or general notes regarding limitations on daily life, emotional struggles or additional pain and suffering endured to serve as the basis for non-economic losses in States where those may apply. You should contact a personal injury lawyer if you think your claim may involve these and providing a journal or diary is one of the best ways to document it.
Learn More About
Damage Caps in Ohio
Dennis P. Sawan
Licensed in Ohio and Georgia
Christopher A. Sawan
Licensed in Ohio and Michigan