Chances of winning a car accident case depends on the evidence you can give your attorney.
There are an average of 6 million car accidents in the United States each year. If you’ve been lucky enough to avoid an accident during your driving history, you may not be so fortunate in the future. Knowing what steps to take after an accident can help you be more prepared if the situation were ever to happen.
Once you’ve addressed any medical issues caused by the accident, it’s time to get the compensation you deserve if you weren’t at fault.
1. Police Report – The number one piece of evidence you’ll need for your car accident case is the police report. The report will contain: Exact location and time of the accident, identification info for drivers, passengers, and witnesses, a narrative of how the accident occurred, and any weather conditions or other elements that contributed to the accident.
To receive a report, contact the department of the responding officer and ask for their records department. They should be able to walk you through their specific steps as every department’s process can vary. We suggest getting multiple police report copies as they aren’t always easily accessible.
2. Witness Statements – Though the police report may have brief testimonies from witnesses, it’s always a good idea to gather your own witness statements. Ideally, you’ll ask for witness statements while still on the scene of the accident so the event is still fresh in their memory. Pull out your phone and record their statement or write it down word for word. If they’re willing, ask them for their contact information in case your attorney wants to speak with them directly. Check the police report for any witness identities and attempt to follow up with them to gather a statement. Don’t forget your own statement is just as valuable. As soon as you remember, record your thoughts as thoroughly as possible as you may forget little details over time.
3. Medical Records – If you suffer any injuries in the accident, you’ll want to keep track of all medical and psychological records. Regardless of how minor you initially perceive the injury, it’s still important to seek professional help. A case of whiplash or PTSD caused by the accident can be enough evidence for your attorney to claim damages. But, you’ll need documents from healthcare professionals citing these injuries and proving you sought treatment. If you don’t have any physical copies of your records, give your lawyer written permission to obtain your records.
4. Insurance Policy – Your attorney will also need a complete copy of your insurance policy. With your insurance policy in hand, your lawyer can confirm the insurance compensation your entitled to. In addition, be prepared to provide proof of payment for your insurance premiums. You’ll want to show you were properly insured during the time of your accident.
5. Estimates of Vehicle Damage – Don’t forget to provide evidence of the damages that were done to your vehicle. While a photo of the damage is good supporting evidence. Take your vehicle to a trusted mechanic and ask for a damage estimate. They’ll be able to review all damages, both cosmetic and mechanical. Then, ask them to provide a detailed expense report of all the necessary repairs. It’s best to wait on repairs until you speak with your attorney and they give you the okay to do them. If the vehicle is undrivable, consider renting a vehicle and keeping all records of rental payments.
6. Income Statements – Many times, someone will miss work after an auto accident. Maybe you were a few hours late on the day of the accident because it happened while you were driving to work. Or, maybe your injuries were severe enough you were unable to work for an extended period of time. Regardless of how many hours you missed, you may be entitled to compensation for lost wages. To prove a loss of income, be prepared to provide paystubs from before your accident to show how much you usually make. Your attorney can compare this to the pay period when your accident occurred to see how much money you lost out on due to the accident.
7. Any Received Correspondence – When you set up an appointment to talk to your lawyer, you should also bring along any correspondence you’ve received. This could be communication from insurance companies, the at-fault driver, or the driver’s attorney. Many times, correspondence will be sent in hopes of you agreeing on a settlement. But, it’s likely if a settlement is being offered, it’s because you have a legitimate case that should be fought. Be sure to never respond to any correspondence until you consult with your attorney. Your attorney will handle all necessary correspondence for you.
Now that you know what documents to provide your lawyer after a car accident, all that’s left to do is find the perfect lawyer for your case. If you’re in need of a car accident attorney in Orange Park, Jacksonville, Palatka, Middleburg, or Starke, call John Fagan at 904-LAW-1212. With over 36 years of experience, we will get you results. Call today for a free consultation.