Personal Injury Case: 10 Critical Pieces of Evidence You Must Collect Following An Auto Accident and
After an auto accident occurs, generally you must file a claim with the person’s insurance who is at fault for the accident. In order to get compensation for the personal injury, property damage, and liability claims, insurance needs to see that you actually suffered damages. Damages can be qualified and quantified as physical damages, financial damages, psychological/emotional damages, or a combination of any of the three.
Historically, insurance is known for low-balling offers and denying claims. That is why it is so important to have readily accessible documentation illustrating any and all of the damages you have suffered as a result of the accident.
When you are severely injured, however, it is best to get the assistance of other people to do the documenting for you. You may call or have somebody call for relatives to immediately come to the scene of the accident or a personal injury attorney to facilitate the documentation.
Why is Evidence Critical?
As I mentioned above, the job of the insurance adjusters is to find a way to deny your claim. You should also note that, as the claimant, you carry the burden of proof of your claims. What this means is that you have to prove 1) that their insured is at fault, and 2) their insured’s negligence on the road caused your damages, and 3) there are no other superseding factors that would have caused your damages.
What Evidence is Critical?
Amongst other things, the most important evidence that you should collect, preserve, and document following an auto accident include, but are not limited to:
1) Official Documents such as police reports, recording of the 911 call, and private investigation reports,
2) Photos of the scene of the accident. This includes photos of damage to the vehicle, photos of the road conditions, photos of the witnesses and others present, a sketch of the position of the vehicles and directions they took, and any audio or video conversations taken with the victims or witnesses;
3) Statements, testimonies or notes from you, witnesses, or anyone else at the scene,
4) Out of pocket expenses, such as tow truck bills, auto repair bills, cost of travel to and from doctor’s visits, etc,
5) Medical bills, receipts for medical treatments, receipts for medications, copies of all doctor’s examinations and reports,
6) Physical evidence from the accident itself. This includes photos or the clothes worn in the accident, small damaged items, etc.,
7) Proof of lost wages due to the accident. This includes time tracking receipts from lost work, pay stubs showing wages, pay slips, W2 forms, etc.,
8) Insurance-related correspondence. This includes insurance cards, copies of policies, letters from insurance companies, voicemails from insurance companies, etc.
9) Statement of accounts or bills. This includes repair bills, repair estimates, medical bills, payment receipts, invoices, etc.
10) Researched evidence of the other party’s driving history.
Without the proper documentation, you are not likely to be able to receive compensation by the other party’s insurance company. Having all of the abovementioned documentation makes it difficult for the insurance company to offer you an unfair settlement. While it is both sufficient and necessary to collect as many of the 10 mentioned pieces of evidence to maximize your settlement from the insurance company, it often times is difficult for one person to collect all of this, especially when under the stress of dealing with the damages themselves. That is why it is easier and more efficient to work with a personal injury attorney.
Why You Need a Personal Injury Attorney:
Collecting all of the necessary evidence is stressful in and of itself. Without gathering all of the necessary evidence, insurance will not even hear you out. They will likely either deny your claim outright or make you a lowball offer that doesn’t even cover your car damage just to close your case out and make you go away.
Given that insurance companies are skilled in asking questions to minimize your case’s worth combined with the fact that you just got into an accident and likely can’t remember every detail relevant to your claim, it is best to acquire the help of a skilled personal injury attorney to handle your claim.
With the help of a personal injury attorney, not only do you increase your odds of winning your personal injury claim, you also increase your settlement offer amount.
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