More than 6 million accidents occur on U.S. roads every year, leading to more than 90 deaths and 3 million injuries. If you’re in a car accident where you think it resulted from the other driver’s carelessness or recklessness, it’s only fair you seek legal recourse with Car Accident Lawyer in Wadesboro, NC. That way, you can get compensation from the other party’s insurer or even file a personal injury lawsuit to receive compensation for your injuries.
The success of your insurance claim or personal injury lawsuits hinges on how well you keep your records for car accidents and two other things. The first is the nature and extent of your losses, and the second is the attorney you choose to represent you. Of course, you only have a solid case if you have proper documentation to support every assertion you make.
Claiming through word of mouth that you suffered injuries and damages worth thousands of dollars because of the accident won’t hold in court. However, a chronological file with copies of medical and financial documentation sure will.
This post will be a checklist of records you should show your lawyer after a car accident.
The Police Report
In states like California, the law requires you to stop and call the police after an accident, regardless of its severity. If you call the police after an accident, the officer will prepare a police report on-site or shortly after clearing the scene.
The report will have information that’ll be useful for insurance claims and personal injury lawsuits. Some of this information includes:
- Details on whether anyone violated traffic laws
- Statements from both drivers and witnesses
- Personal observations by the responding officer
- Circumstances that led to the accident/potential causes
Keep in mind that you don’t receive the police report copy after the accident. To get the police report, you’ll have to contact the police agency that handled the accident and hand over the following information:
- Names of all the drivers/pedestrians involved
- Location and date of the accident
- Name and badge number of the responding officer
It might take a while, but you’ll get the police report sooner or later. A police report won’t be necessary if no police reported to the scene of the accident.
Witnesses are individuals who heard or saw the accident or were within the vicinity. People who could explain the reason why the accident occurred are also considered witnesses.
Witness statements are statements by the said individuals explaining what happened before, during, and after the accident. You can get statements from witnesses through various sources, but law enforcement agencies’ statements, specifically the responding officer, hold the most weight.
Witness statements from federal oversight authorities with jurisdiction over the scene of the accident also count. Some of these authorities include the state and Federal Highway Administration, among others. Witness statements from any of those will be invaluable for proving your case.
Victim statements are also known as client statements because it’s your personal recollection of the incident. This is probably the most crucial document that you need to hand over to your car accident lawyer.
However, this statement will only be valid if you have a solid recollection of how the accident occurred. Some victims end up with head injuries that make things a little blurry. If this is the case, your victim statement may not be too viable.
It’s also your lawyer’s responsibility to determine whether you’ve made any other previous statement to anyone else other than your legal representative. That’s because you may have provided information that would contradict the official victim statement or reduce the accident claim’s value. Check out this resource to find a reputable car accident lawyer to guide you through the process.
If you want the best results, you better keep things between you and your lawyer. Plus, ensure you’re as detailed as possible with your client statements for your account to be convincing enough. Don’t forget to talk about your reduced daily capabilities and other ways the accident has impacted your life.
Information You Exchanged at the Scene
It’s typical for drivers to exchange information after the accident for future communication and deliberation. Most people exchange their contact information and maybe the plate number, which should be enough to get back to each other.
Be sure to hand this information over to your lawyer, even if you’ve already contacted the other driver.
Inform your attorney of any ticket you got relating to the accident. Tickets could be detrimental to you winning your case or getting a fair claim. By letting your attorney know about any ticket you got, the two of you can work your way around it.
So the accident did a number on you, and you had to take a trip to the hospital to get back in shape. If that’s the case, make sure you keep all the medical records from your hospital visit and stay. These medical reports will prove more than useful in fighting your case.
The medical reports should cover any party involved in the accident. It should contain medical records like ER records, autopsy reports, doctor care records, and even rehabilitation reports. The medical reports may also include the medical history of anyone that suffered harm or injury during the accident.
Reviewing the medical histories of involved parties will help determine whether a pre-existing condition should have prevented the party from driving. The medical reports should also include the medical costs each party incurred for their treatment and rehabilitation.
Severe accidents may have profound psychological impacts on their victims. If this describes you, you should let your lawyer have copies of your psychological reports. This only applies if the accident forced you to seek psychiatric and psychological care.
As with medical reports, ensure your lawyer gets everything regarding your psychological treatment. This includes the costs of treatment, the names of your mental health providers, and a signed release form.
Proof of Income
There’s a huge chance that you had to miss a few days of work because of your accident. That means you lost some income and are liable for compensation. To recover any lost income, you’ll need to show proof of the losses you claim.
To do so, you’ll need to recover pay stubs, tip records, direct deposit records, and other financial documents that may show how much income you missed because of the accident.
Vehicle Damage Estimates
If your car was damaged due to the accident, you’re entitled to compensation for the damages as part of your insurance claim or lawsuit. However, before you can receive any compensation, you first have to quantify the value of the damages.
Depending on your insurance policy, some insurers will handle the car damage estimation themselves. However, you can visit a reputable auto body shop or auto mechanics and get an estimate of the cost of repairs. In some cases, you’ll also need an estimate of the car value, which you can get from reputable sites like http://accidentreports.com/.
Videos or Photographic Evidence
Smartphones have made it much easier to take photos and videos of incidences as they occur. You’ve probably heard from your insurer that you should take as many photos and videos of the accident scene as possible. If you have, then be sure to hand them over to your lawyer.
Many locations have cameras placed strategically to capture events around the vicinity. If you’re lucky enough, a nearby camera might have captured what happened before and after the accident. If not, take as many photos of the accident scene as you can; they’re just as useful.
Past Violations or Safety Concerns
Past traffic violations and safety concerns of the other party may be useful in proving your case. The violations and concerns may involve inspections for any vehicle parts that may be responsible for the accident.
You should obtain the car service records and determine whether the vehicle manufacturer should’ve issued a recall. If the authorities had cited any vehicle parts for safety violations, the history of these violations will be relevant.
Calls to 911
Any calls you or driver two dispatched to 911 are a real-time account of how events unfolded after the accident. The 911 dispatch call is a guiding light as to the happenings of the accident and a gateway to further information about the event.
Dispatch calls shed light on the caller’s emotion and the general atmosphere after the accident. This should highlight further aspects of the accident that the investigator should look into.
Last but not least, you should give a copy of your insurance policy to your lawyer. If you don’t have it, you can ask your attorney to get it from the insurance company. That way, they can examine it and find out what compensation you’re entitled to.
Have These Records for Car Accidents
The above checklist or records for car accidents is all you need to battle it out in court. Just make sure you have a competent and experienced lawyer to better your chances of fair compensation. Take your time to gather all the documents and make the legal process a breeze.
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