What Documents Do I Need for My Personal Injury Case?
In order for your accident or injury claim to be successful, it is important to have documentary evidence. The documents you need will depend on the type of accident, the nature of your injury, and the extent of any damage sustained.
You may find the following documents particularly helpful. However, it’s important to remember that every case is unique, and your lawyer will be able to provide you with advice on any specific evidence your case may require.
Because police reports are considered public records, they are available to all the relevant parties once they are completed. Depending on how many police officers or law enforcement agencies are involved, there may be multiple reports. A special division of the police department may also create an accident reconstruction report.
While police reports are not conclusive, they are often a great starting point when building a personal injury case. They may also lead to further reports from labs or other agencies working with the police investigators.
A witness statement is a declaration by anyone who may have seen or heard the accident. Witnesses might also include people with relevant information about the accident or its context. Those who can complete witness statements include:
- Investigating police or law enforcement agency
- Parties to the accident
- An oversight agency such as the State or Federal Highway Administration
A statement from the victim of an accident is often the most vital document in an accident claim. The victim should provide this statement when they have the clearest recollection of the incident in question. It is advisable to speak to your attorney before making a statement about your accident to any other party. If you don’t, you could inadvertently provide information that might reduce the amount you’re able to receive in compensation for your claim.
Take care to keep all records and reports relating to:
- Emergency room visits
- Medical care
These records should cover the whole period of time that all relevant parties are receiving medical care. The reports can also extend to individuals’ medical histories, particularly if any pre-existing conditions should have prevented them from engaging in the activity that led to the person’s harm or injury. Keep all the related medical bills, as well.
Research into Past Violations or Safety Concerns
Safety records and inspection reports can reveal potential areas of negligence. For example, in a car accident, it can be useful to access records of when that car last received a service. Or if several people had cited a piece of equipment for safety violations before it caused someone harm, a documented history of those past citations could be crucial to help prove negligence in your case.
Photos, Video, and Audio
Pictures or video that was taken before, during, and after an accident can be invaluable when it comes to assessing liability. Many locations have cameras in strategic locations, and sometimes witnesses may have recorded footage of the incident on their phones.
Similarly, there are often sound detection devices in many areas that police have recognized as high-crime areas. These devices can capture the sounds of gunshots, car accidents, and the sounds of voices. This can help indicate who was on the scene or in the vicinity of the accident.
911 Dispatch Calls
Calls to emergency services provide real-time documentation about the accident, as well as offer a record from the victim or a witness very soon after the accident occurred. 911 dispatch calls can also shed light on the emotional state of the caller in the immediate aftermath of the accident.
Tax forms such as W-2s, as well as statements from your employer, can prove that you have lost wages while you were recovering from the accident. Additionally, be sure to keep receipts for all expenses that might be related to your accident, including:
- Medical care and supplies
- Rental vehicles or alternate transportation
- Expenses incurred by relatives who provided you with care
Keep Yourself Organized
Be sure to keep all documents relevant to your claim in the same place. For physical items, this can be a box. For digital documents, create a dedicated folder on your computer. Staying organized will help you to get the compensation you deserve.
The Georgia personal injury attorneys of the Chris Hudson Law Group have years of experience delivering excellent results for accident victims, and we can help you identify and gather all the documents you need to build your case. We understand that life can be challenging after you suffer an injury, and we want to be there to support your claim so that you can focus on your recovery.
Call (706) 690-4613 today for a free consultation with one of our seasoned personal injury lawyers.