If you are injured in a personal injury accident, you have probably already heard that documentation is critical. But with so much unique documentation required, it can be difficult to know what you will need for your injury case.
Proper documentation can mean the difference between getting an excellent recovery for your claim and no recovery at all. The specific documentation you need will depend on the facts of your claim, so it is essential to work with an experienced personal injury attorney to determine your exact needs. Here is an overview of some of the documents you may need for your case.
Law enforcement reports
If the police or fire department arrived at the scene of the accident, they probably made a report. You must obtain a copy of the report . A law enforcement report is a great place to start building your case.
Officials who respond to the scene are often critical in developing your case. They collect the evidence that is available at the scene and gather information from witnesses. Your accident attorney can use this information and search for new potential clients to gather even more evidence.
In addition to police or fire reports, there may be other official reports. If your accident occurred at a company, employees or other business representatives could have made an incident report.
Obtaining a copy of the incident report can help you understand how your accident occurred. It can also give you tips on where to look for additional evidence.
Pictures of the scene
A picture can really be worth 1000 words. Photos of anything related to the accident are critical to your case. You may have photos of your injuries, photos of vehicles or equipment at the scene, or photos of the roads or other places where your injuries occurred.
Each photograph can be valuable to your case and shed light on things you may not have noticed during the chaos of your initial injuries. You should continue to take pictures of your injuries periodically while you recover.
Having a witness write down your observations serves multiple purposes. First, create a written record of important details before the witness can forget them. Second, it prevents the witness from changing their story later.
Your treatment diary
It is up to you to show what your injuries are and how they have impacted your life. You should keep a recovery journal that tracks your injuries, how you feel each day, and your medical appointments.
Your attorney can use that information to explain what your injuries are, how your recovery has developed, and how you are suffering physically and emotionally.
Expert witness opinions
You can work with an expert witness to explain to the jury how the accident occurred or describe your injuries and your prognosis for recovery. The expert can provide a written opinion of your findings. Your report is critical documentation for your injury case.
Reports of other complaints or accidents
Your accident may not be the first of its kind. If your injury occurred in a business or workplace, there may be other incident reports available in addition to a police or fire report. These reports can help you prove that the other party is liable for your injuries because you avoided known dangers and warning signs.
In a product liability case , for example, knowing what other accidents have occurred can help you show how a product is unreasonably dangerous.
You can turn to an insurance company to recover your case. If there is an insurance company involved, save any correspondence you receive from the company. When working with your own insurance, you also need documentation of who your insurance provider is and any policy information you can find.
A large part of any personal injury case is proving your losses. You should keep copies of any invoices that arise due to your injuries. Keep copies of your medical bills and insurance explanation of benefits paperwork.
In addition to medical bills, keep records of any additional costs arising from your injuries. If you hire someone to cut the lawn or drive the kids to school, ask for bills and keep payment records. If you need to buy gas to go to medical appointments, be sure to keep copies of your receipts. You can claim compensation for all your financial losses, so you need documentation of your bills.
Your job information
Another critical type of documentation is your work history and payment information. You can claim compensation for lost wages and loss of earning capacity by providing documentation of your loss of pay. You can submit pay stubs, W-2 information, bonus reports, and any other documentation that shows your payment prior to your injury.
What do I do with my documentation?
With your documentation, your legal team builds your case and prepares to present it. Your documentation provides a complete picture of the evidence you have and the strengths and weaknesses of the case. That information allows you to carefully draft your court documents and make sure you don’t omit any critical information.
Additionally, compiling the documentation you need enables you to come up with a plan to skillfully present your case at trial. You can also use the documentation to approach the other side and ask them to agree to a fair settlement based on the strength of the evidence you have compiled.
How a Personal Injury Attorney Can Help
If this information sounds confusing, don’t worry because you are not alone. It is essential to hire an injury attorney to help you identify the documents you need and collect them. Your attorney will also help prepare the court documents and present the evidence in court effectively.
If you want to file a personal injury claim or need help gathering the proper documentation for your case, it is best to hire a qualified attorney to make sure your claim is accurately prepared so that you get the compensation you need.
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