No one expects to be involved in a car accident, but even the safest drivers can experience trouble on the road. It pays to be prepared for the worst. When you’re injured in an automobile accident and another driver is at fault, you are legally entitled to compensation for your losses. The at-fault driver’s insurance company will typically settle your claim, but sometimes a lawsuit is necessary for proper compensation.
Do you know what steps to take to ensure your personal injury claim is substantiated? The first few days following an accident are integral to establishing a basis for your case. You should start gathering evidence as soon as possible, if not immediately.
Get Medical Documentation
—and medical attention. Of course, your health and safety are top-priority after an auto accident. Make sure you call emergency services in the case of severe injuries and find a safe place to wait for help. Once you get in to see your doctor or other medical provider, take the opportunity to report all your injuries. Your medical records and bills will serve as substantial proof of your injuries, both in the courtroom and in your dealings with insurance companies.
You should also take pictures of your injuries as early as possible. This could include visible marks, cuts, swelling, or bruises, as well as any casts or bandages provided by your doctor. If you wait too long and start to heal before you take photos, you could be accused of lying or exaggerating the extent of your injuries. You should also photograph the scene of the accident as soon as you can. Use a camera or cell phone to take time-stamped images of the scene, the vehicles involved, and any environmental factors that could have contributed to the accident (such as a broken traffic light).
Talk to Witnesses
Did anyone watch the car accident unfold? You can strengthen your claim with witness statements that corroborate your information. Ask for their contact information and see if they would be willing to make written or verbal statements. They may be able to confirm your visible injuries or provide an additional perspective to support your side of the story. The faster you get their statements, the more likely they are to remember the important details.
File a Police Report
You may be hesitant to involve police, but they can be instrumental in the documentation process. Ask the police to file a police report, note their names and badge numbers, and request your own copy. An official account of the accident scene will provide you with a wealth of information that can work to your advantage.
Record All Relevant Details
Once again, it’s best to record your experience quickly to avoid forgetting significant details. Write down your recollection of the events leading up to, during, and after the accident. In addition to the sequence of events, you should report the times, dates, weather conditions, and any relevant details you can think to incorporate. Make sure you also keep any other records related to the accident, such as repair estimates for your vehicle.
Find an Attorney
Time is of the essence! Immediate action and thorough documentation of your car accident will provide you with the best possible chances, whether you need an advantage in a courtroom or in negotiations with an insurance company. A seasoned attorney is even better equipped to uphold your legal rights. Call the Law Office of Cohen & Jaffe, LLP to make the most out of your personal injury claim.