If you were just injured in a car accident, you are probably in a dazed or panic state. It is not easy to remain calm and composed after such an incident, especially when you’re hurt. You are very likely dealing with extensive paperwork, wrangling with insurance companies and adjusters, and stressing over your mounting medical bills.
In this chaotic time, it’s absolutely crucial, however, that you do not lose sight of the importance of thoroughly documenting your case. Gathering evidence, talking to witnesses who were on the scene, and taking photographs may be the last things you’re thinking about, but you have to be smart and proactive. If you want to make sure that you are fairly compensated for your injuries, damages, and losses, you will need the necessary documentation to support your claims.
Here is a quick checklist of information you will need. Use it to get yourself organized, and to make certain you have everything you need when negotiating with an insurance company or discussing your case with a lawyer.
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Information from the accident scene.
- The other driver’s name, driver’s license number, vehicle license plate number, insurance company name, and policy number.
- Photographs of the scene of the crash, including your injuries, damage to your vehicle, and the scene in general.
- A copy of the police report.
Information after the accident.
- Medical costs including doctor visits, prescriptions, diagnostic and lab tests, medications (prescription and over-the-counter), physical therapy, chiropractic services. Make sure you make a note of dates, times and amounts charged as well as the reason for seeing the medical providers.
- Record work time lost as a result of injuries. Include time you had to take off for medical treatments and your lack of ability to function properly at work because of your injuries. It would also help to get a letter from your employer confirming your lost pay and lost time. If you are a student, make sure you record school time lost. Also document your inability to continue with school work as you did prior to the crash.
- Document pain, discomfort, emotional distress, mental anguish, exhaustion, and inconveniences caused by your injuries. You would be well-advised to keep a daily log or journal documenting your thoughts and physical condition. Also record what effect your injuries have had on your everyday life, activities and relationships.
- List property damage, specifically car repair estimates and bills.
- Keep track of out-of-pocket expenses – be it for medical care or to fix your car.
- Keep copies of all documents, bills and medical records.
Remember, under no circumstances should you hand over your documents to an insurance adjuster or attorney for the other side. This could be used against you to minimize the value of your claim. Consult an experienced attorney who will be able to guide you efficiently through what can be an extremely complex legal process.
IF YOU, OR A LOVED ONE, HAVE BEEN SERIOUSLY INJURED IN A CAR ACCIDENT IN WASHINGTON – CALL TODAY FOR A FREE CONSULTATION!