When pursuing a personal injury claim documentation is critical to a successful outcome. The more evidence and documentation you have, the better your chances of obtaining a successful result. Taking good notes after an accident is the first step toward a maximum recovery.
Seemingly unimportant details can be invaluable in proving your case, so it is essential that you take detailed notes as soon as possible after the incident. In addition to writing details of the event, there are certain pieces of evidence, such as any hospital records or accident reports from the police, that can help your attorney build the strongest claim for compensation.
Document Your Accident
As soon as your head is clear enough, write down everything you can remember about how the accident happened, these following tips will get you started in the right direction.
- The activities that led up to the accident. If it was a car accident, you would want to note who was driving in which direction, the presence of any traffic signs or signals, markings on the road, the closest intersection, if the weather, and so forth. If the injury was due to a defective product, you should note how the product was being used, what you did to prepare for its use and what happened when the accident occurred.
- A recollection of what was said immediately following the accident. When other people were involved, such as another driver, witnesses to the accident, or any attending police officers, note anything that was said and by whom to the best of your recollection.
- A record of contact information for all involved parties and insurance information for anyone who was directly involved in the accident. Also, make a note of any in-person or telephone conversations following the accident, including those with any witness, insurance adjuster or representatives, and any medical professionals.
- Try to write down every detail about the accident. You should record contact information about the negligent party as well as witnesses and all available insurance information. Obtain a police report, if available, and, if the accident is a workers’ compensation issue, make note of the insurance company name and contact information.
- Maintain a medical diary and history of every medical visit and expense until you have fully recovered. If you have experienced psychological trauma, such as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, record all related doctor visits and expenses.
- Keep a note of anything you have lost because of the accident and your injuries. This could include lost wages from missing work, missed job opportunities, meetings, classes, social gatherings, business events, family time, vacation, and anything else that benefited you or you would have enjoyed but could not because of the accident.
Preserve The Evidence
In addition to written details, your accident lawyer will be able to build a stronger case with other types of evidence, including the following:
- Photographs of yourself showing your injuries at various stages
- Photographs of the accident site, such as the road or skid marks for a traffic accident, or a wet floor in a slip-and-fall accident
- Photographs of all items associated with the accident, such as the vehicles in a traffic accident associated with the accident
- Any items that were damaged as a result of the accident to provide evidence of additional losses
- All bills for medical expenses, including hospital and doctor charges, purchase of equipment such as crutches and braces, bandages, prescription drugs, and even over-the-counter medications like aspirin that were purchased to control pain
- All medical records, particularly those showing the diagnosis of your condition and the prognosis for recovery
- All bills for repair of property that was damaged in the accident
- Bills for related expenses, such as insurance deductibles you paid, car rental, or property that had to be replaced due to irreparable damage
- Any clothing that you wore when the injury occurred
Copies of any insurance policies that you have that relate to your case
- Copies of any news articles that may have been published regarding the accident (an online search may reveal the publications of local media items)
Working With An Accident Attorney
Every case is different and requires specialized information, but you will be off to a good start by providing the information listed above. Your attorney will investigate your claim and work with you to gather additional information to support your lawsuit.
An experienced accident lawyer will be able to determine the value of the evidence you have and suggest other items that you may not have considered. Our firm, Raphaelson & Levine Law Firm, P.C., has two decades of experience in a wide range of personal injury situations. We know what items will help to show liability and the extent of your injuries. In complex situations, we also have the resources to obtain forensic evidence and expert witness testimony to prove your individual case.
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If you've been injured and have questions about your legal options, contact Raphaelson & Levine today. We've helped thousands of New Yorkers understand their next steps following an injury. Call (212) 268-3222 or request a free lawyer consultation.