If you’re hurt in a personal injury accident, you’ve 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.
The right documentation can mean the difference between getting an excellent recovery for your claim and getting no recovery at all. The specific documentation you need will depend on the facts of your claim, so it’s essential to work with a skilled personal injury lawyer to determine your exact needs. Here’s an overview of some of the documents you may need for your case.
Law Enforcement Reports
If the police or fire department came to the scene of the accident, they probably made a report. You should get a copy of the report. A law enforcement report is a great place to start to build your case.
The officials who respond to the scene are often critical to building your case. They collect the evidence that’s available at the scene, and they gather witness information. Your accident lawyer can use this information and pursue new leads to gather even more evidence.
In addition to police or fire reports, other official reports may exist. If your accident occurred at a business, employees or other business representatives might have made an incident report.
Getting a copy of the incident report can help you learn about how your accident occurred. It can also give you tips on where to look for additional evidence.
Photos of the Scene
A picture really can be worth 1000 words. Photos of anything related to the accident are critical for your case. You might have pictures of your injuries, photos of vehicles or equipment at the scene, or photos of the roads or another location where your injuries occurred.
Each photograph may be valuable to your case and shed light on things that you may not have noticed during the chaos of your initial injuries. You should continue to take photographs of your injuries periodically as you heal.
Having a witness write their observations down serves multiple purposes. First, it creates a written record of important details before the witness can forget them. Second, it prevents the witness from changing their story later on.
Also, a written witness statement can give you details that you can use to work with experts and reconstructionists to determine how the accident occurred and what your damages are.
Your Treatment Journal
It’s up to you to show what your injuries are and how they’ve 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 unfolded, and how you’re suffering physically and emotionally.
Opinions of Expert Witnesses
You might work with an expert witness to explain to the jury how the accident occurred or describe your injuries and prognosis for recovery. The expert may provide a written opinion of their findings. Their 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 at a business or a workplace, there might be other incident reports available in addition to a police or fire report. These reports may help you prove that the other side is responsible for your injuries because they 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 might look to an insurance company for recovery in your case. If there’s an insurance company involved, keep any correspondence that you receive from the company. When you’re working with your own insurance, you also need documentation of who your insurance provider is and any policy information that you’re able to find.
A big part of any personal injury case is proving your losses. You should keep copies of any bills that arise because of your injuries. Keep copies of your medical bills and insurance explanation of benefits paperwork.
In addition to medical bills, save records of any extra costs that arise on account of your injuries. If you hire someone to mow the lawn or drive the kids to school, ask for invoices and keep records of payment. If you need to buy gas to drive to medical appointments, make sure to keep copies of your receipts. You can ask for compensation for all of your financial losses, so you need documentation of your bills.
Your Work Information
Another critical type of documentation is your work history and pay information. You can claim compensation for lost wages and lost earning capacity by providing documentation of your lost pay. You can submit pay stubs, W-2 information, bonus reports, and any other paperwork that shows your pay before 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 full picture of the evidence that you have and the strengths and weaknesses of the case. That information allows you to carefully draft your court documents and make sure that you don’t leave out any critical information.
Also, compiling the documentation that you need allows you to make a plan to present your case at trial skillfully. 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’ve compiled.
How A Personal Injury Attorney Can Help
If this information sounds confusing, don’t worry because you not alone. It’s essential to hire an injury attorney help you identify the documents that you need and gather those documents. Your attorney will also help prepare court filings and present the evidence to the court in a way that is effective.
If you want to bring a personal injury claim or if you need some help gathering the right paperwork for your case, your best bet is to hire a skilled attorney to ensure your claim is prepared accurately, so you get the compensation you need.