Car accidents are always traumatic, frightening experiences that are sadly inevitable. It is simply impossible to predict exactly when an accident might occur on the road. Even if you are a skilled driver, you may not be able to avoid a collision. If you suffer injuries and damage to your vehicle, the situation is even worse. However, in that scenario, you can choose to file a personal injury lawsuit to recover compensation for your medical bills and other damages.
In order to successfully build a case after a car accident, you must have evidence to back up your claims. Generally speaking, you need as much documentation as possible to serve as evidence and have a greater chance of receiving a settlement or a verdict in your favor. There are certain types of evidence you should gather to strengthen your personal injury claim.
Pictures of the Scene of the Accident
If you can physically manage to do so, you should snap as many pictures of the scene of the accident. You can easily do this by using your smartphone’s camera and focus your shots on the road, particularly skidmarks, your vehicle, and any other vehicles involved in the accident. Make sure to take pictures from various angles and at varying ranges. You want to take close-up shots of your vehicle to clearly show the damage it sustained. Skidmarks on the road should be shot at more of a distance. Additional photos you should aim to include traffic signs and lights.
If the accident was very serious and involved serious injuries or death at a major intersection, there may be footage from a red light camera. In this instance, there would be a video of the accident as it happened. You or your car accident lawyer may be able to obtain a copy of the video as evidence.
Copy of the Police Report
If you called 911 shortly after the accident and summoned police officers to the scene, there is a police report about it. This is an essential document and you should definitely get a copy of it from your local police precinct. The police report serves as vital evidence in your personal injury lawsuit as it helps to prove that the accident took place and provides a detailed account of it.
Information contained in the police report includes the responding officer’s account of what took place during the accident, how it occurred, and who was at fault. There are certain other details included as well, such as the following:
• The names of the drivers involved in the collision
• The contact information of the drivers involved in the accident
• The insurance information of each driver
• Each driver’s license plate number
• Each driver’s license number
• The names and contact information of any witnesses who saw the accident take place
You can use the police accident report to your advantage when seeking a settlement from the other driver’s insurance company. The report often includes information about your vehicle damage and any injuries of which you were aware of at the time of the accident.
Witness’ Accounts of the Accident
In addition to getting the names and contact information of people who witnessed the car accident, you will want to also get the witness’ accounts of the accident. Ask them to write down what they saw. You can also record them speaking about it with your smartphone. If they can also describe the demeanor or behavior of the driver responsible for the accident, it could also be valuable evidence for your claim. Even if you are unable to get the account of any witnesses, it can still be enough to have their names and contact information so your personal injury attorney can later interview them and prepare them to testify in your case.
Medical Records of Your Injury
It’s essential that you seek medical attention immediately after a car accident. Even if you don’t believe you have been hurt and feel fine, injuries frequently lie dormant due to the natural surge of adrenaline you experience after such a stressful situation. When you get a medical examination after a car accident, you will have a record of your condition, which is vital evidence for your case. The records also prove that you received medical treatment after the accident. Your medical records can include the following:
• Emergency room visits
• Hospital admittance and stays
• Medical bills
• Prescription medications
• Treatment from specialists• Physical therapy
In addition, it is wise to obtain a copy of your medical records from your regular doctor from before you were in the car accident. This can serve as a before and after picture regarding your condition prior to the accident and since.
Another important piece of documentation you want to have as evidence for your personal injury claim involves employment records from your employer. If your injury was severe enough that you had to miss time off from work, you are legally entitled to recover compensation for lost wages. Your employment records serve as proof of the amount of money you earned and what your income should have been while you had to miss time from work.
This evidence can be in the form of check stubs that reveal your average pay rate, bank statements showing your salary as direct deposits into your checking account, or a letter from your employer. If you obtain the latter, the letter should include your professional job title, your rate of pay, the average number of hours you normally work, and an estimate of your lost wages.
If you were injured in a car accident and plan on filing a personal injury claim, you must consult with a car accident lawyer to discuss your case. You can get vital legal guidance on how best to proceed, and you will have a better chance of recovering the compensation amount you truly deserve for your medical expenses, lost wages, and other damages.