What Documents Do I Need for a Personal Injury Claim?
Preparing for a personal injury claim takes gathering many documents, information and paperwork to build your case against the at-fault party. While an attorney can help with the gathering process, you can begin yourself by filing away documents relevant to your case from the beginning. Create a case folder where you keep all relevant documents, medical records and accident reports. Then, take your folder to a personal injury lawyer in Virginia to start your damage claim.
Police and Investigative Reports
If you called 911 from the scene of your accident and the police created a written report, request a copy of it from your local law enforcement office. You may need to wait 10 days or longer after your accident for the police officer to submit his or her report. Then, you may request a copy for your personal use. You should also try to access other investigative reports, such as from an insurance company or private investigator. Official accident reports and investigative summaries could contain important facts, evidence and details about your accident to help you prove your case later.
Any witnesses who saw the accident or injury happen should offer recorded statements describing what they saw. Get the names and phone numbers of witnesses while still at the scene of your accident. Contact them (or have your accident attorney do so) for statements as soon as possible, while the details are still fresh in their memories. Eyewitness accounts could help clarify issues or questions about how the accident happened or who was involved. Your police report may also include eyewitness statements if the officer interviewed people at the scene.
Photographs and videos can serve as important evidence during a personal injury claim. Take photos of your injuries from day one. Continue taking updated photos as you heal, especially if you will have permanent scarring or disfigurement. Access any video evidence of your accident as well, such as footage from dashboard cameras or closed-circuit surveillance systems. Images of your accident happening or the injuries you suffered could provide indisputable proof to support your damage claim.
Collect all accident-related medical records and injury documents from the health care center you visited. Medical documentation can include all types of health care correspondence from your provider(s). Request copies of your x-rays, test results, diagnostic documents, treatment plans, prescriptions and letters from doctors. Medical records can establish the existence, severity and cause of your injuries. It could also prove you did not have a pre-existing injury. Medical documentation can serve as a strong foundation for your personal injury claim.
Letters From Insurance Companies
After filing your initial insurance claim, keep a copy of the paperwork you submitted to the company and the insurer’s response. Write down details about conversations you have with insurance claims adjusters. Showing an attorney correspondence from an insurance company could help you find out if you are the victim of insurance bad faith. It could also enable your lawyer to negotiate better with the insurance provider for full and fair compensation.
Bills and Receipts
Finally, collect all documents that prove you suffered financial losses connected to the accident. This could include medical bills, travel expenses, lost wage pay stubs, payment receipts, legal fees, investigative costs and estimates from auto mechanics. Keep track of any proof showing you had to spend your own money to cover accident-related expenses. Collecting financial documents could help you prove you deserve the amount of compensation you or your lawyer is demanding from the defendant.
Go to a lawyer with all the documents you have collected regarding your recent accident and personal injuries. A lawyer can review the papers for free and let you know if you have grounds for a claim. If so, the attorney could use the documents and other evidence collected to help build your case. Contact our Richmond personal injury lawyer today.