Car accidents are common in the U.S., with recent reports showing they claimed 42,915 lives in 2021. If you or your loved ones are involved in one, the first thing you’ll probably consider is hiring a car accident lawyer to help you with your case.
You must ensure you have your ducks in a row by bringing the proper documents when meeting with your lawyer. That’s why we’ve put together this car accident document checklist, so you know how to prepare.
The last thing you want is to go into your meeting with a personal injury lawyer and not have all the documents they need. Read on as we guide you through everything you need to get started on your car accident claim.
A Police Report
A police report contains details of what happened during, after, and before the accident. You can still file a report at your local precinct if the police didn’t come to the accident scene.
This document will contain information like:
- The names, driver’s license numbers, and insurance information of all parties involved
- Witness statements
- Details about damages and car accident injuries
- Weather and road conditions during the accident
- The badge numbers of the officers who responded to the accident
- The time, date, and location of the accident
The police report is crucial because it’s an unbiased account of what happened. Your car accident lawyer will use this document to understand how the accident occurred and who’s at fault. If the police report is inaccurate, your lawyer can help you file a supplemental police report to correct any mistakes.
Photos and Videos of the Scene
You should try to take photos and videos of the scene immediately after the accident. Capture the license plates of the involved vehicles, any property damage, and the injuries you or your passengers sustain.
You should also take photos of the skid marks, debris, the other vehicle’s condition, and traffic signals. Save these visuals and bring them when you meet with your lawyer. They can help your lawyer understand what happened and who’s at fault.
You can use the photos and videos taken by passers-by or those caught by CCTV cameras in the area. If there are private security cameras around the accident scene, your lawyer can help you get hold of the footage.
Medical Records and Reports
You should seek medical attention immediately after an accident, even if you feel okay. Some car accident injuries, like concussions, may not show symptoms immediately.
Keep all your medical records and reports in one place, and bring them when meeting with your personal injury attorney. You’ll need to show medical records and reports to prove the injuries you sustained in the accident. The records will also help your lawyer understand the extent of your injuries and how they’ll affect your life.
Be sure to bring any X-rays, MRI results, or hospital discharge papers. You should also bring your medical bills, prescriptions, test results, and treatment records. These will help approximate how much will be enough to cover the medical expenses.
If there are any eyewitnesses to the accident, be sure to get their contact information. Your car accident lawyer will need to speak to them to understand what happened.
The statements should include:
- The name and contact information of the witness
- A detailed description of what they saw
- The date and time they gave the statement
Your lawyer will use the witness statements to corroborate your account of what happened. This is important if the other driver is trying to deny responsibility for the accident.
Work Records and Documentation
If you’ve missed work because of the accident, keep records of all your lost wages. This includes pay stubs, tax returns, and time sheets. You should also keep records of any vacation or sick days you’ve used because of the accident.
Your documents should show the exact dates you missed work and how much money you lost because of the accident. Remember to keep records even if you’re self-employed. Your lawyer can use this information to calculate how much compensation you should receive for lost wages.
In addition, your work records can provide valuable insight into the type of person you are and how the accident has impacted your ability to perform your duties.
For example, suppose you’re a salesperson who’s unable to meet with clients because of your injuries. Your lawyer can use this information to show the severity of the accident.
Car Repair Estimates and Documentation
If your car was damaged in the accident, you should get repair estimates from a few different mechanics. Keep all receipts and documentation related to the repairs.
The documents about your car’s damage will establish the extent of the damage to your vehicle. The receipts will show how much you’ve spent on repairs because of the accident. The lawyer will incorporate this figure into the total amount of damages you’re claiming.
Sometimes, your insurance company may only cover a portion of the repair costs. If this is the case, your car accident lawyer can help you negotiate a fair settlement.
You should bring your insurance documents, even if you weren’t at fault for the accident. This includes your auto insurance policy, declarations page, and other relevant documents.
If you have collision coverage, your insurance company will likely pay for the damage to your vehicle. Your lawyer can help you negotiate with your insurance company for a fair settlement.
You’ll also need to bring the other driver’s insurance information if the other driver was at fault. Your lawyer will use the details to send a demand letter to the other driver’s insurance company.
Prepare to Meet Your Attorney With This Car Accident Document Checklist
If you’re hiring a lawyer to help you with your car accident case, you need to gather all the necessary documents. Use our comprehensive car accident document checklist to ensure your lawyer has everything they need to build a strong case on your behalf.
Are you looking for a car accident or personal injury attorney in Fontana, CA? Look no further than Fontana Injury Law Group. Our lawyers have successfully represented thousands of clients since 2014 and have ensured they receive maximum compensation.
Schedule a free consultation today to discuss your case.