You were in an accident caused by another driver. You have injuries, you cannot work, and your bills are piling up.
You decide that it is time to file a lawsuit against the other driver. They caused the accident, so how hard could it be to win your case?
When you file a personal injury lawsuit, you become the plaintiff. As the plaintiff, the burden of proof is on you. That means you must use the full power of your evidence to show the court how the other driver was at fault and should pay for your damages. One of the most powerful pieces of evidence you collect will be documentation.
Unfortunately, most accident victims are unaware of what documents they should keep. So, following an accident, they discard, shred, or do not get copies of these essential documents. By the time they meet with an attorney, the documents are forgotten or getting new copies of the documents becomes a tedious task.
You can streamline the claims process and even help your case by knowing which documents you need and which documents often slip through the cracks.
What Documents Do Philadelphia Accident Victims Need?
Every case is different, and the type of evidence you need depends on the accident circumstances. The more evidence you have, however, the stronger your case and the higher your chances are of a successful outcome.
Copies of the Car Accident Report
The most critical document is the accident report. Accident reports, which are filed by local police, are pivotal and create a professional perspective on the accident’s cause. Most accidents will have a police report as you are required to report an accident before leaving the scene.
It takes a few days after the accident for the report to finalize. Once it is complete, you can go to your local precinct and get a copy of that report. Some police stations offer the copy for free, while others charge a small fee. Regardless, you need a copy of this for your case and should get more than one copy – just in case.
You have injuries, but how will you prove it without medical records? Medical records are another critical piece of evidence that you need. Request copies of all medical documents from the following parties involved in the case:
- Ambulance Services
- Emergency Room
- Physical Therapy
- Physician’s Office
- Psychologist or Therapist
Anyone that was included in your treatment should have copies of your records. These records help demonstrate the injuries you had and their impact on your quality of life after the accident.
You will need to fill out a form to request your medical records and it may take a few days, depending on the institutions.
Do Not Forget Bills and Receipts
These are the records most victims forget: bills and receipts. Medical records are easy to obtain and hard to lose. However, documents that aren’t as easy are copies of any medical bills, prescriptions filled, out-of-pocket expense receipts, discharge notes, and other documents given to you by a provider.
Keep copies of all these documents, even if you feel they are irrelevant. Your attorney can later go through them and determine what they need to prove your case.
Even though your insurance is not paying for the accident, your attorney will need your and the other driver’s automobile insurance information. In the event the driver is underinsured or uninsured, your attorney will need to seek compensation from your uninsured motorist coverage (if you have it).
At the scene of the accident, you should have gotten the other driver’s auto insurance information. If you were unable to, it should be on the police report.
When you file a claim for an auto accident, you might think that the only compensation you will receive comes from injuries. However, compensation is meant to make the victim financially whole, and that includes repayment for the loss of personal property and repairs to the vehicle. Any repair bills that you or your auto insurance paid must be included in your claim. Repair estimates can also be included so that your attorney has an estimate of what it will take to repair your vehicle.
If the vehicle is deemed to be a total loss by your insurer, you will receive compensation for the vehicle based on the market value of that vehicle.
Keep copies of any replacement costs for personal property inside the vehicle. For example, a personal cell phone might be destroyed in the accident. You may have to pay to replace that phone, and you can request compensation for those costs.
You may have other losses such as rental car expenses or medical supplies. Anything you pay for out-of-pocket that results from the accident comes with a receipt, and that receipt must be given to your attorney.
Keeping It All Organized
You will have piles of paperwork to bring to your attorney. Instead of rushing to find them all just before your consultation, try to keep them organized ahead of time. Have a file box for your accident and use file folders to separate categories like medical expenses, lost wages, or receipts for out-of-pocket costs. Doing so will make it easier to find and transport documents to your attorney’s office.
Meet with an Injury Attorney Today
If you or a loved one was seriously injured in a motor vehicle accident, you might be entitled to compensation. To explore your options and start the process, meet with Jeffrey H. Penneys, Esq.
As a local attorney in the Philadelphia area, I can assist you with your injury case, help you find documents, and advocate for your right to compensation.
Schedule a no-obligation consultation today at 800-465-8795 (office), 215-771-0430 (cell), or fill out my online contact form with your questions.