Statistics from The non-profit National Safety Council show that car crash fatalities rose by 8% in 2020.
Given the COVID-19 pandemic and the movement restrictions, this is a brow-raising trend. It underscores the ever-present risk of road accidents for road users.
After you are involved in a crash, you need to hire an attorney to help you navigate the legal aftermath. As part of the process, the attorney will ask for some documentation to help manage the case.
Keep reading to find out what documentation you should always hand motor vehicle accident lawyers handling your case.
1. Police Report
A police report is a tent pole document for your car accident case, and you have to get it right if it’s to help make your case.
Every police officer who reports to a car accident scene prepares a report. That’s either at the scene or shortly after they review the case. In the report, the officer notes facts relating to the accident and their opinion.
That is some of the most critical data you need to make your case as it significantly influences the assigning of fault. Car accident lawyers will request the report as soon as you contact them so they can assess the case’s merit.
To get your hands on a copy, you need to place a request with the local law enforcement officials handling the case. Typically, the investigating officer will give you a receipt containing the identification number of the report before they leave the scene.
If you have that receipt copy, call the traffic division of that law enforcement agency to get a copy of the report. In case that’s not possible, you can reach out to the insurance adjuster handling the case for a copy if they have the pixie report.
A police report can contain a fact or opinion regarding the case. The insurance company processing the claim will conduct its investigation to verify or disprove the facts or opinions in the police report.
2. Medical Records
Did you sustain any injuries in the crash, or did you get medical attention to assess potential injuries? You need to show medical records and hospital billing information indicating you received medical attention.
Some of the medical records pertaining to the accident you’ll need to source will relate to:
- Emergency medical services
- Emergency room treatment
- Pharmacy scripts
- The treatment you receive from your primary doctor
- Chiropractic care
- Hospital admission, which can include the treating physician’s records
- Other specialists and health providers
Remember, your medical records should span every stage of healthcare you receive relating to the accident.
3. Witness Statements
A reliable witness statement has to be from someone who has a firsthand assessment of the accident. Therefore, you must find witnesses as soon as possible, even though you may still be shaken up.
The more time lapses before you can identify a witness, the more details such a witness will forget. On top of that, any significant time gap between the accident and your sourcing statements from witnesses will erode credibility.
While the most apparent witness you want to talk to is those who were part of the car accident, often they aren’t the only source.
Other overlooked witnesses you can talk to include:
- Emergency responders
- Drivers and passengers in other cars
- People in adjacent buildings at the time of the crash
Just because a witness didn’t see the actual crash does not mean their statement isn’t valuable.
For example, a pedestrian who didn’t see the crash itself may have noticed the other driver didn’t use their turn signal right before the crash. That’s still compelling evidence that can help make your case.
Since witnesses are tough to track down, ensure you capture as much contact information as you can. If possible, get contact information on someone close to them as well.
Once you have their statement, you can request them to write their account down. Alternatively, you can use the voice recorder on your cellphone to take down their testimony.
Don’t pressure a witness into giving you a statement. You want them to be on your side since other parties will also interrogate them. If any witness seems on edge, take their information and follow up with them later on.
4. Proof of Loss of Income
If the accident leads to you losing income because you can’t work, you can seek compensation. To do so, you need to gather financial records that can show the exact (or near-exact) amount of income you’ve lost.
Additionally, you’ll need a letter from your employer showing the days you didn’t come to work and the lost income. If the crash leads to your termination, an employer will need to state the same in a letter.
5. Photos and Videos
The photos and videos of the accident scene are critical as they offer visual proof of what happened. Once you ensure your safety after the accident, you need to take photos and videos of everything.
Sometimes a car crash can happen so suddenly as to throw you off balance. You may lose the presence of mind to record any visual evidence. You can reach out to the insurance agent to request a copy of their pictures and videos in such cases.
6. Proof of Insurance Payments
Even though it may be disconcerting to some, possessing a valid insurance policy isn’t enough to ensure you’ll receive compensation. The attorney you talk to will request further evidence.
Thus, you will need to prove that you have been paying the premium on your auto insurance policy. These premiums are solid proof you have an ongoing relationship with the insurer leading to a duty of care in compensating you.
7. Car Repair Estimates
Since your vehicle needs repair for the accident damage, you need to note all costs involved in fixing it. In situations where the car can’t be repaired and is declared a total write-off, you’ll need to prove its actual cash value just before the crash.
What Motor Vehicle Accident Lawyers Need to Handle Your Case
A car crash happens in the blink of an eye. As part of the post-collision process, you need to look at potential motor vehicle accident lawyers to hire to help with your case.
Once you settle on the best lawyer for you, ensure you furnish them with the proper documentation vital to making your case.
Car accidents can be unsettling. To help you out, our website features helpful tips and information on how to manage the legal aftermath of a crash. Check out more of our content to learn your rights and how to protect your interest after a car accident.