If you have been the victim of an injury suffered in a car accident, you may be considering hiring a lawyer, or you may have already retained one to represent you. In either case, there are certain documents your lawyer will need to see to develop a full understanding of your case and your chance for a recovery.
The following is a list of documents that your lawyer may want to have during the course of your case:
Your Insurance Policy
If you have an car insurance policy, your lawyer will want to see a copy of it in order to establish what type of a recovery you may be entitled to. If you do not have a hard copy of your insurance policy, do not panic. Your lawyer will be able to obtain one, with your authorization, from your insurance company.
Evidence of Premium Payments
Your lawyer will also require proof that your automobile insurance policy premiums have been paid. You should receive regular statements or bills from your insurance company notifying you that premiums are due. Being able to provide your lawyer with that correspondence, as well as evidence of your payment (through cancelled checks or a receipt, for example), will help prove that the policy is in force and “paid up.”
Information Exchanged at the Accident Scene
Typically, names, insurance, and contact information are exchanged between the parties to an accident while they are still at the scene. If you have this information, even if you’ve already contacted the other parties, make sure to provide it to your lawyer.
Information Provided by the Police at the Accident Scene
Often times, law enforcement is called to a scene of an collison. In those situations, they are required to compose an accident report, which typically includes a diagram of where the various cars or pedestrians were at the time of the incident. The report will also include the reporting officer’s initial impressions of the cause of the accident. This information is vital in allowing your lawyer to develop a comprehensive understanding of your claim. Provide your lawyer will a copy of the accident report or any other documentation drafted by law enforcement. If you do not have a copy of the police report, your lawyer will be able to obtain one on your behalf.
Tickets Related to the Accident
If you’ve been cited or ticketed related to the accident, be sure to let your lawyer know. For example, if you were cited for running a stop sign, your lawyer will need to see a copy of your citation.
If your vehicle was damaged in an accident, it is prudent to take photographs of the damage. If you did not take pictures, an adjuster from the insurance company may have. If you have photographs in your possession, provide them to your lawyer. If you do not have photos, but believe that an insurance company may have taken some; supply that information to your lawyer too.
It is a possibility when you are involved in a car accident, that you may be contacted by a representative of your (or the other parties) insurance company. Often, the insurance company will want to take a statement from you regarding the accident. If you were contacted, you have a right to receive a copy of any statement you gave. If you have a copy, give it to your lawyer. If you don’t have a copy, let your lawyer know that you gave a statement so he or she can obtain a copy of it for you.
Note: Generally, you aren’t required to give a statement to the insurance company, particularly once you have hired a lawyer to represent you. If you are contacted by the insurance company, make sure that you let your lawyer know.
If you were involved in a car accident, you may have suffered physical injuries which required you to seek medical attention. If so, your lawyer will require your medical records so that he or she can see what your diagnosis and prognosis are, is and gain understanding as to the severity of your injuries, and recovery expectations. Provide your lawyer with copies of any medical records that you have. If you don’t have copies of your records, your lawyer will be able to obtain the records, with your written permission, on your behalf.
If your car accident has had mental or emotional repercussions for you, which have required you to seek psychiatric or psychological care, your lawyer will also need to know about it and will need to see treatment records. Just like your medical records, you should provide your lawyer with a copy of any psychological records or the names and addresses of your mental health providers and a signed release form.
If you have been unable to work as a result of a car accident, your lawyer may be able to obtain compensation for your past and future lost wages. To do so, your lawyer will need to calculate how much you have actually “lost” as a result of the injuries. Having documentation of your pre-incident earnings and your post-incident earnings will help your lawyer make this calculation accurately.
Learn More About Your Case
Obtaining important documents is an essential part of any car accident case, but it’s just the first in a series of steps. Consulting with a lawyer who’s experienced in handling car accident cases will help you better understand your case and know what the next steps are. Before moving forward, it’s in your best interests to contact a car accident lawyer for advice about your claim. The Law Offices of Zappettini and Bradley are experienced with car accident claims, and can help you through the entire process.