The first key to negotiating a successful settlement is to counsel our personal injury clients on the value of obtaining properly documented evidence.
If you are injured at an accident scene, you must gather all of the necessary evidence. This includes obtaining the name of all of the drivers involved as well as all of their insurance information. It is important to obtain the name, address, phone number, and license number of the motorists involved and all of their insurance information with the address of the insurance company and policy number. If you have a cell phone with you, snap a picture of the drivers’ licenses and insurance cards. Furthermore, you must document the name, addresses. and phone numbers of all of the witnesses that saw the accident.
It is also important at the accident scene to take pictures of all of the damage to the vehicles involved both to the exterior and interior. Make sure to include views from all 360 degrees around the vehicles. Additionally, it is important that you take as many photographs of the damages to your body physically that are visible. This includes bruising and other areas of pain.
If any of the motorists look impaired or intoxicated to you, it is important that you mention it to the investigating officer. Please ensure that the investigating officer conducts the necessary tests. Take down any notes that summarize your conversations with all of the drivers involved and all witnesses. Also, document what you told the investigating officer.
In a truck accident case if you are representing yourself, it is essential that you request the following documents:
1) the truck driver’s log book;
2) bills of lading which are records that show what cargo the truck driver would have hauled;
3) the truck driver’s personnel file;
4) the truck driver’s driving record, including their traffic and criminal file;
5) maintenance and repair records for the truck and trailer operated;
6) the crash report;
7) the insurance policies for both the truck and trailer; and
8) any and all individual’s names, addresses and phone numbers that were at the scene of the truck collision.
Diary of Your Limitations & Injuries
It is also important that you keep a diary that documents all of your injuries and limitations to date. Also, document any mental suffering or anxiety that the wreck has caused you including whether the accident has impacted on your ability to drive, whether you are more anxious or nervous when you drive after the accident, whether you have nightmares about the accident, or whether your pain causes you to be tired, emotionally distraught, nervous or anxious.
In cases where our clients’ physical or mental injuries are permanent in nature, we always try to secure a report from their treating doctors that confirms that their doctor, within a reasonable degree of medical probability, believes that their injuries are permanent, caused by the accident, and will require future medical care and treatment.
Questions about Documentation?
If you have questions about documentation for your personal injury case, feel free to give us a call at The Law Office of Tom Somos, LLC.