Documenting Your Claim After a Motor Vehicle Accident
When you are involved in a car accident, it is important that you carefully document the ways that the accident has affected your life, including gathering evidence related to your pain, injuries, and damages. This documentation helps to ensure that you or your lawyer have all the information necessary to prove your claim to the insurance company. Cautious documentation of information, evidence, parties, witnesses, injuries, and expenses is imperative in a successful accident injury claim. I have provided several basic checklists to help you get started in gathering evidence and collecting documentation to prove your case.
Gathering Evidence at the Scene
- You should not shift your vehicle unless instructed by police or a posted highway sign.
- Offer assistance to an injured party and summon an ambulance if necessary.
- Call and wait for police to arrive at the scene.
- Obtain the names, addresses, telephone numbers, and insurance information for the other parties involved in the accident.
- Identify accident witnesses – obtain the names and addresses of any possible witnesses.
- Acquire pictures of the scene. Pay particular attention to the details of the scene of the accident, such as tire skid marks on the road, and take photographs of these as well as the vehicles.
- Never concede fault to parties involved, police, or insurance companies.
- When the police arrive, tell them what actually happened in the accident. You should tell them right away if the other party did something wrong.
Collect Proper Documentation
- Seek medical treatment as soon as you can and keep record of your treatment.
- Let your primary care doctor know you were in a vehicle accident.
- Notify your personal automobile insurance company that you were involved in an accident.
- Never submit a statement to the other driver’s insurance company. You are not legally obligated to do so.
- Photograph any visible injuries and their progression.
- Keep record of your lost time and wages from work or school that resulted from your motor vehicle accident.
- Before you repair your car, consult with a personal injury attorney.
It is vital to the success of your personal injury claim that you collect all relevant information related to your car accident, and this general list of steps can help get you started in that process. If you are uncertain what documents and evidence is needed to bolster your personal injury case, you may consider speaking with a personal injury lawyer in Durham or hiring an accident investigator. Additionally, for more information on gathering evidence in your personal injury case, visit our Evidence in Car Accidents – Overview article.