After an accident happens, one can easily be consumed with dealing with injuries and become confused on what to do next. In all the chaos, one may not be thinking about building a personal injury case, but there are a number of steps one can take in the time following an accident that can set up for a successful claim. Preserving evidence is important after an accident, it will be helpful in a personal injury suit.
As soon as possible after the accident, one should revisit the scene to collect information to support the claim. It would be ideal to gather evidence immediately following the accident, but revisiting the scene soon afterwards can provide a chance to collect evidence to understand what caused the accident, and to begin building a case against those liable for the injuries.
Look for conditions or details that could have caused or contributed to the accident, such as a loose step that caused a slip and fall accident, or a broken traffic signal that contributed to a car accident.
Some items that may seem unimportant at first may turn out to be valuable evidence. For example, a wrecked car could show the impact of the crash. If one cannot keep the actual physical item, preserve it in a photograph.
Taking pictures can provide compelling evidence to support a claim. These photos can be shared with the insurance company considering the claim or with an attorney that is building the personal injury case.
Photos of the accident scene should be taken at the same time of day the accident occurred to best represent the conditions. For car accidents, taking photos on the same day of the week can be the best way to capture any local traffic conditions that may have been factors in the accident.
Witness accounts can support one’s story or even inform one of a perspective of events to support the claim. Also, a witness can be someone with first-hand knowledge of how the injuries impacted one’s health.
While it can be helpful to collect names and numbers for later contact, it is better to record a statement. This can be done by writing down what they have to say about what happened or by recording them with an audio device or a cellphone. Obtaining contact information is still very important, as a follow-up with the witnesses for verification or for more information will probably be necessary.
This is another instance where a camera can be useful. Take pictures of any injuries when they are fresh, as well as the bruising and swelling that may occur as they heal, including any visible marks or effects left after treatments or surgeries. Make sure to record one’s recovery. Remember that the timestamp on these digital photos can help lend credence to one’s case.
Keeping a journal or other personal notes can help one remember the journey to recovery after an accident, which can help one’s memory over time. Contemporaneous notes can support an account of events and the timeline of the recovery, but official documentation can be vital to a case.
Perhaps the single most important piece of evidence that will support a claim is verifiable documentation of the injuries. It can be invaluable to have an official health record indicating the extent of the injuries and details the attempts to seek medical treatment. X-rays and other medical scans can also be used as evidence of one’s injuries.
When an accident happens, the police are often called to the scene. This is usually the case with car accidents. Police who respond to an accident scene typically fill out an incident report, or a police report, which serves as an official record of the event.
The officer will include all pertinent information, including the identities and addresses of the people involved. The report may provide an overview of the events as they unfolded, but the officer’s notes are likely to stick to the observable facts. A rough summation of the injuries and property damage may be noted as well. Having this official report may be useful for a claim.
Another official record that one will want to get a hold of is work records. If one’s injuries prevented one from working, one should have the paperwork to prove that the accident has affected one’s employment.
Used in conjunction with the medical records indicating that a doctor considers it too soon for one to return to work, supporting paperwork from an employer may provide a clear picture of what the injuries are costing.
Most importantly, after an accident happens, one should hire a lawyer to file a personal injury suit. A lawyer will make sure that the necessary evidence is collected and that the legal process goes efficiently and smoothly.
If you wish to seek compensation through a personal injury claim lawsuit, contact one of our Delaware personal injury lawyers at Jacobs & Crumplar, P.A. Our skilled lawyers help clients file successful personal injury claims. We help injured clients get maximum compensation. Contact us online or call us at 302-656-5445 for a free consultation. Located in Wilmington and Millsboro, Delaware, we serve clients throughout Dover, New Castle County, and Sussex County.