Important Documents to Give Your Car Accident Attorney
If you retain the services of Dennis and King, we gather bills and records pertaining to your lawsuit. However, in some cases, particularly when it comes to medical bills, these documents can be retrieved much more easily by the client. Some of these records, such as costs for replacement childcare, lawn care and employment information, only the customer can gather. Here are some tips to keep in mind if you decide to gather some of your own records for us or for any other car wreck attorney you may choose.
First rule: Never give your documents and photos to a claims adjuster and never sign anything the insurance company asks you to sign without first consulting your car accident lawyer.
Second rule: Keep all original documents collected for your car injury file.
Correspondence and notices
Keep records of any correspondence sent to you by any car insurance company, health insurance company or any lawyers that are involved. This includes printing emails.
Every medical bill sent to you for your wreck related care needs to be documented.
Keep in mind that the amount of compensation eventually received by you for your injuries will be based upon medical bills. As a result, always keep proof of every expense claimed relating to your car wreck. Also, make sure your settlement offer covers everything before you accept an offer.
Types of Medical Bills to Include
- Dental treatment — If related to the car wreck
- Physician bills — For the treatment of injuries related to the car wreck
- Hospital bills — Make sure the hospital bill is itemized and includes any emergency room treatments, in-patient hospitalizations as well as supplies used for any surgery you have had as a result of the car wreck. You also need to gather any bills for the Emergency Room doctor, any surgeon or any specialists you consult for car wreck related injuries.
- Prescription medication — Ask your pharmacy for a print-out of the total cost of your medication prescribed for your car-wreck injuries
- Medical devices — Get receipts for the full cost of items such as crutches, boots or braces.
- Lost wages and wage verification — If you miss time from work because of your injuries, make sure your doctor agreed with the reasons for your absenteeism. Make copies of any doctors’ excuses from work. Get a letter from your employer verifying your wages and compensation as well as the amount of time you lost from work because of your injury.
- Replacement services — These include childcare costs, lawn care or housekeeping while you recover from your car wreck related injuries.
- Miscellaneous expenses — Also include expenses for out-of-pocket charges such as medications, bandages, transportation expenses or parking fees related to medical appointments.
- Medical records — MEDICAL RECORDS ARE THE MOST IMPORTANT GROUP OF RECORDS FOR YOUR CAR WRECK OR PERSONAL INJURY CASE
Medical records encompass the main building blocks of your case. They are the documents that discuss your injuries and any recommended treatments. They also prove you sustained your injuries during the incident. Your records also prove the medical expenses needed for treating your injuries. Your car wreck/personal injury lawyer or yourself will need to request these medical records in writing.
- Property damage bills and records — The amount of damage sustained by your car can influence the amount of any settlement offer or jury verdict. As a result, body shop estimates for repairs are needed, as well as towing bills and out-of-pocket costs for rental vehicles while your vehicle remained in the shop. You also need to include charges for the replacement of miscellaneous items such as eyeglasses, cellphones and baby car seats.
- Reports and witness information — Try to gather contact information for any potential witnesses as well as copies, if any, of their written statements.
If you were involved in a car wreck, get a copy of the police report. You can get the report by going to the local police service center or local sheriff’s office. Simply provide the attending officer with the report number given to you by the investigating officer.
If your injury occurred while at a business, such as a store or a restaurant, you can request a copy of the incident report.
- Photographs and video — When injured during a car wreck, always try to get a picture of the car or cars involved in the wreck. If you are unable to do so, then try to get a picture of your car. If you slip and fall at a store or restaurant, try to get a picture of that upon which you slipped or tripped.
Print your digital photos on high-quality photo paper. Keep digital copies safe.
You should also take pictures of your injuries and your recovery each day. On the back of each photo write the date, what it shows and who took the photo.
It’s hard to keep your thoughts straight after a car wreck. However, once you have calmed down and are hurting a little less, return to the accident scene and make a note of any video cameras you see that may have recorded the collision.
- Written notes — After a car accident or personal injury, you should take notes during the following: telephone conversations, problems you are having with the insurance company paying your claim and all of the symptoms you are having, particularly in the first few days after your car wreck or personal injury.
Take notes during every conversation you have with the insurance company, medical providers, witnesses, or anyone else connected to the car wreck or personal injury.
- Keep a separate calendar for only injury-related events — Record all therapy dates, medical appointments, discussions with insurance adjusters and dates promised by insurance adjusters for the completion of tasks. Always note the dates you agreed to contact an adjuster and when the adjuster promised to contact you.
An “Injury Calendar” helps you remember events after your injury. It will also help you hold an insurance company to their promises.
If you do not hire a car wreck or personal injury lawyer, you need to know the statute of limitations for your car wreck or personal injury claim. If you do not settle your claim or file a lawsuit before the deadline, you will forever forfeit your right to compensation, even if you sustained a serious bodily injury.
The law does not require the insurance company to settle your claim before the statute of limitations expires, nor does it require you to be warned regarding the length of the statute. If you ignore the deadline, the insurance company wins—and they do not have to pay you ever.
Never wait until just before the deadline to file a lawsuit. The memories of witnesses can blur and potential evidence can become stale, making it harder for an attorney to help you. Always contact a car wreck attorney or personal injury lawyer immediately after your accident. The sooner you contact a car wreck or personal injury lawyer, the better.
The firm of Dennis and King is eager to help you work through the document gathering process for your car wreck of personal injury. Remember: “Dennis and King — We take care of everything.”