According to the CDC, over 3 million people are injured in car accidents in the U.S every year. A car crash can be a scary experience, especially if you also need to file an injury claim.
Hiring a car accident attorney to represent you after an accident can impact the outcome of your case. Additionally, the documents you share with your attorney could also impact your case's outcome. The type of documents you share with your lawyer will increase your chances of winning the case.
Car accident lawyers use these documents to understand your case and fight for you in court. Below are eight essential documents you must share with your attorney:
1. Proof of Insurance
If you have insurance for your car, share proof of the policy with your car accident attorney. They will use it to assess the kind of insurance recovery you're eligible for.
If you don't have a copy of your insurance with you, don't panic. Car accident lawyers can get proof of insurance from your insurance company with written consent from you.
Driving your car without insurance is illegal. You may lose your case if you have an expired policy or your cover doesn't meet your home state's minimum standards. That's because the other party may use this against you in court.
2. Proof of Premium Insurance Payments
If you have an insurance cover and you've been paying your premiums on time, the attorney will need evidence of the payments. Insurance companies send periodic notifications and reminders to inform you when premiums are due.
Give your attorney all the correspondence you have with the insurance company and proof of payment. You can use receipts, credit card statements, or canceled checks. This will act as proof that your premium payments are up-to-date and your policy is still in effect.
3. Any Information You Exchanged at the Scene of the Accident
In certain situations, individuals share social media information and email addresses instead of their phone numbers or physical addresses. Any information you gathered after the accident should be presented to your attorney.
4. Information or Tickets Shared by the Police Officer at the Scene of the Accident
Most people call the police immediately after an accident happens. The police are obligated to create an accident report that includes a rough drawing of the pedestrians’ and cars’ positions at the accident scene. An accident report also includes the officer's first impression of the accident and its cause.
Sharing this information with your lawyer will help them better understand your case. Share with them anything that the police drafted, including a copy of the accident report and traffic tickets. If you don't have the report, your lawyer will obtain one from the police on your behalf.
One or more parties involved in the accident may receive traffic tickets from the police. This especially happens if either driver was:
• Driving under the influence
• Texting behind the wheel
• Driving in an unsafe way
The other party's lawyer could use traffic tickets against you, especially if they were injured in the accident. But your attorney can review the ticket and create an argument against it, explaining why it shouldn't increase your responsibility for the crash.
5. Pay Records
If the accident resulted in you losing time from work and your wages, your lawyer might help you get compensation. They will do this by using your pre-accident and post-accident paychecks. The paychecks will help them compare and calculate your lost wages as a result of the accident.
6. Medical and Psychological Records
If you suffered physical injuries resulting from the accident, it's essential to seek medical attention immediately. When filing a personal injury claim, ensure you show medical records to your attorney. The records will help the lawyer understand the extent of your injuries and how long you will need to recover.
If you don't have a copy of the medical records, your attorney may obtain them on your behalf. However, they will require written approval. Share with the attorney the contact information and physical address of any doctor you have seen to make their job easier.
Did the accident have a psychological or emotional impact on you? If so, you may need to see a psychiatrist or a psychologist. Share with your attorney any psychological treatment records as well.
7. Photos and Videos of the Accident Scene
If your vehicle was damaged or dented during the accident, ensure you take pictures of the damage. However, if you were not in a position to take pictures, check whether the other party or the insurance adjuster took any pictures.
Provide any photos and videos you have of the accident scene to your attorney. If the insurance adjuster also took photos, tell your attorney to obtain the photos or videos.
8. A Copy of Statements
After an accident, insurance adjusters contact the parties involved for their statements. If you were contacted and choose to give a statement, ensure the insurance company shares with you a copy of the same.
Share the copy of the statement with your attorney. However, if you don't have one, inform your attorney so that they can obtain a copy from the insurance company on your behalf.
It's always good to note that you're not obligated under the law to give a statement to the insurance company. If you have retained an attorney, consult them before giving any statement to an insurance adjuster. The insurance company may use the statement against you in the future.