The most important part of the case comes in the minutes and days after the accident. Gathering information and documents is key. We would like to discuss important areas to concentrate on after an accident. What to do if you are in an accident – call an experienced injury lawyer.
- Accident Scene: If possible while on the scene of the accident, take as many pictures as you can. Take pictures of the cars involved if a car crash or the place where you fell. If a car crash, take pictures and/or video of the scene of the crash. Include road signs, traffic lights, etc. Only gather this evidence if it is SAFE to do so. Do NOT risk getting injured again!!!
- Property Damage: If your car has to be towed from the scene or taken to a body shop to get repaired, it is crucial to get the insurance company involved. The insurance company will take photos and provide for an estimate of the damage. They may arrange for a reputable body shop. Your insurance company may also obtain a rental car for you. Hopefully, you will not have to pay much (if anything) to get your car fixed. If you do have to pay out of your pocket, please keep receipts. Your lawyer should be able to get you reimbursed during the case.
- Pain & Suffering: It is a good idea to keep a diary. Your diary will have what you are going through. You will share it with your lawyer. Some of the things you may want to jot down. A headache that hasn’t gone away. A new pain in your knee. Waking up in middle of night. Re-living the crash. Fear of driving. You should also take pictures of your injuries and any scars.
- Mental Distress: In addition to pain and suffering, you may be suffering from a psychological injury. You may have had issues in the past that are now worse. Or the issues may be brand new. Either way, you want to make sure you get to a mental health physician to talk to about the issues. These visits should help you get better. This will also help your lawyer document how serious your injury is. This may increase the value of your case to an insurance company and jury.
- Medical Reports: These reports are probably the most important document in your case. If you have not gone to a doctor and have no medical reports, you do not have a case. Therefore, if you are injured, you MUST see a doctor. You should see a doctor soon after the accident. The doctor must prepare proper medical reports for your case. Just tell your lawyer what doctors you are seeing and your lawyer will do the rest. We tell our clients to concentrate on getting to the doctor and getting better. We will do the rest. It is crucial that you let your lawyer know each doctor that you see. This is important so the reports can be obtained after your medical treatment is complete.
- Medical Bills and Health Insurance Liens: Similar to gathering your medical records, your lawyer will also need to obtain all of your medical bills. Your bills are directly related to how much your case is worth. Your lawyer will also want to make sure that your doctors are billing the correct insurance company. If your health insurance company pays for accident related medical bills they may be able to get paid back at the end of the case and your lawyer needs to closely follow the payments. It is good if your lawyer can notify your health insurance company early on in the case to limit any end of case delays so make sure you let your lawyer know if you have health insurance.
- Lost Wages: Another super important item to share with your lawyer. Similar to your past medical bills, your past lost wages are directly relevant to the value of your case. You need to keep track of any lost wages. Your lawyer will get proper documentation from your employer and from your physician in order to prove your lost wages. Another part of your case and a case for lost wages is what we call lost earning capacity. This is a little more difficult to prove and your lawyer may need to hire an expert to prove this element of damage. For example, if you suffered a back injury and because of your injury you may not be able to get a promotion to a higher paid job, your lawyer should include this as part of your case.
This blog post was submitted by David Aronberg a personal injury lawyer in Delray Beach, Florida. See Attorney Aronberg's profile. Visit his website.