Motor Vehicle Accidents Law
In a personal injury lawsuit, it is generally easier to prove that the other party was at fault when there is strong evidence. After a car accident, individuals who are seeking financial damages can use documents to build their case.
Important documents to build your accident claim after a car accident injury include:
Remember, your car accident lawyer has to convince the other driver's insurance company that you deserve a fair settlement. So the more evidence available to use, the better.
When pursuing a car accident lawsuit, here are eight documents you should show your personal injury attorney.
When the police arrive at the scene, they will create a report. They may make a preliminary ruling as to who caused the accident.
While this decision may be modified or overturned as more evidence emerges, it can be a powerful way to establish that another party was at fault for causing the accident. This may give your car accident case leverage in settlement talks or when the case goes to trial.
In some cases, one or more drivers involved in an accident will receive traffic tickets. This could happen if a driver was:
Traffic tickets may be used against a driver who was injured in a car accident. However, your auto accident attorney may be able to review the ticket. They can create an argument against the ticket, and why it doesn't necessarily increase a your liability for the car crash.
It is illegal to drive without a valid insurance policy. If the accident took place outside of your home state, your policy is still valid. If your policy has expired or otherwise fails to meet the minimum standards in your home state, however, that may be used against you.
It may be possible to show copies of checks sent to the insurance company. It may also be possible to show bank statements with the date that you made the last payment the amount. You could also use a credit card statement as proof.
One of the most critical steps to take after calling the police is to exchange information at the scene. Typically, drivers will exchange insurance information, as well as their names, addresses, and driver's license and phone numbers.
In some cases, it may be appropriate to share email addresses or social media contact information in place of a physical address or phone number. Whatever information is exchanged, you should keep it in a secure place and share it with your attorney.
At a minimum, the drivers will give police their version of events at the crash scene. Those involved in the accident may also provide a statement to their insurance companies. Any witnesses may also give a statement to police. Original statements may be especially useful if anyone changes their story in the future.
Keep all medical bills, even if it seems like a minor injury. Keep your receipts for medical expenses, especially out-of-pocket expenses or things paid for through a Health Savings Account (HSA), such as ankle braces, pain killers, or crutches.
Medical records will show whether you sought treatment after a crash and what the doctor found. They may also show whether you had underlying medical issues before the crash. If these got worse after the car crash, it may influence your personal injury claim.
Your attorney can use your recent pay stubs to determine any loss of current or future earnings because of your injuries. Recent tax returns and other financial documents can also help determine how much you could lose if you are unable to return to work.
An attorney could ask questions or look at documents during a free consultation, but you may want to keep documents private until after you agree to hire an attorney. Until that point, they are not under any oath to keep your personal injury case private.