There are nearly six million car accidents across America each year. About three million people sustain injuries after a crash. Meanwhile, about two million drivers develop lasting injuries.
Despite how often car crashes occur, many people don't know what to do afterward. If you're not prepared, you might fail to gather the auto accident documents you need. These documents could impact your ability to fight for compensation.
Don't remain unaware! Instead, prepare for a potential auto accident injury lawsuit.
Here are the nine documents you'll need before meeting with an auto accident lawyer. Gathering these documents can help prove your losses. Then, you can fight for the full amount of compensation you deserve.
Don't unintentionally leave money on the table. Instead, read on to learn more.
1. The Police Report
The next time you're in an auto accident, make sure to call the police right away. Remain in a safe area until police arrive. Don't leave the scene without giving your official statement.
In some states, you're legally obligated to file an official police report after a car accident. If you're unaware of local laws, call the police to cover your bases. After all, you don't wait to get charged with a hit and run.
When the police arrive, make sure to stick to the facts.
Don't apologize or embellish. In some situations, an apology is viewed as an admission of fault. Instead, stick to the facts as you know them.
While you wait for the police to arrive, consider using your phone to write down your recollection of what happened. It's normal for you to forget certain details after an accident. Maintaining your own records will ensure you don't forget anything.
Make sure to get the police officer's name and badge number, too. Then, ask if they can send you a copy of their police report. Their report will cover:
- Who was involved in the crash
- An account of what happened
- If anyone witnessed the accident
- If any traffic rule violations occurred
- Property damages
If you struggle to get the police report on your own, provide your auto accident lawyer with the officer's name and badge number.
Your attorney will need the location, date, and driver's names to get a copy of the report. Make sure they have these details beforehand.
2. Relevant Tickets or Citations
Remember, the police report will cover any traffic violations that could have contributed to the crash. For example, perhaps someone ran through a red light. Maybe someone was drinking and driving or texting while behind the wheel.
Driver-related factors (fatigue, distraction, error, impairment, etc.) are present in almost 90% of crashes. These factors could help your auto accident lawyer determine fault.
You could prove the other driver's negligence caused the crash. Proving fault will help build your auto accident case.
Let your auto accident attorney know if anyone was issued a ticket after police arrived. Don't forget to tell them if you received a ticket, too.
3. Medical Records and Bills
Between 20 and 50 million people suffer non-fatal injuries, many resulting in long-term disabilities, after a crash. These injuries cost the US over $380 in direct medical costs.
Make sure to visit a doctor immediately after you're in a crash. You might not realize you sustained injuries until days after the fact. Sometimes, adrenaline can mask your pain and related symptoms.
Visiting a doctor will ensure you don't experience complications, including internal bleeding.
As you gather your auto accident documents, make sure to get any documents relevant to your medical care, too. These documents can include medical bills, treatment plans, and prescriptions.
You might also visit a chiropractor, physical therapist, or pain specialist. Keep a record of your appointments, treatments, and symptoms you experience.
Your auto accident lawyer will need these documents to calculate your losses. The doctor's report can also show how your injuries can impact your quality of life long-term.
4. The Other Party's Information
After an auto accident, make sure to get information from everyone involved in the crash. For example, you'll need the driver's:
- Driver's license number
- Phone number
- Insurance information
- License number
Get information about their car, too, including the make, model, and year.
5. Pay Stubs
Are you missing work as a result of the crash? Gather your pay stubs to prove your lost wages. Your lawyer will use your pay stubs to show your lost earnings.
They can also determine how much you might lose in the future, too.
6. Witness Statements
Did anyone witness what happened? Gathering statements from witnesses can strengthen your account of the crash.
Before leaving the scene of the accident, ask the witness if they're comfortable providing their information. Your auto accident lawyer might contact them in the future to get an official statement.
7. Video or Photo Evidence
Before leaving the scene of the auto accident, make sure to gather your own evidence. Photos and videos can prove your side of the story.
Make sure to get footage of the vehicles involved in the crash. If you were injured, get footage of your injuries as well.
Capture footage of the crash site before you leave, too. Otherwise, someone might clean the scene after the fact.
8. Policy Payments
As you gather these auto accident documents, don't forget to remain in contact with your insurance company. Provide your lawyer with a copy of your car insurance policy as well. They'll need to know what coverage you're entitled to.
9. Vehicle Repair Estimates
Take your car in for repairs after the crash. Gather any estimates you receive. Your lawyer will use these estimates to calculate property damages.
Take the time to gather more than one estimate from different mechanics in the area. Send your lawyer each estimate.
Make Your Case: 9 Auto Accident Documents to Bring to Your Lawyer
Gathering these auto accident documents will help your lawyer prove your losses. With their help, you can fight for the compensation you deserve. Otherwise, you might unknowingly leave money on the table.
Remember, you don't have to fight alone. Make sure you have an experienced personal injury lawyer at your side.
Ready to file your auto accident injury lawsuit? We can help. Get in contact with our local attorneys today.