St. Louis Personal Injury Checklist Part 1
Personal Injury Checklist 1
Part 1: Automobile/Motorcycle Accident
Our attorneys know that everything happens so fast during an auto accident that keeping your wits about you is not an easy task. Even the most minor fender benders can be traumatic experiences. And immediately after an accident, the last thing on your mind is gathering evidence. However gathering evidence is exactly what you need to do to maximize your recovery in your personal injury claim.
Preserving physical evidence and witness statements is crucial both for establishing the liability of the negligent parties as well as for proving the causation and extent of your injuries. Obtaining witness statements and contact information, taking photographs, and taking notes at the scene can swing a case in your favor. Additionally, those claims in which this critical evidence has been preserved are almost invariably easier to settle at fair value. In the even your claim proceeds to trial, the evidence you’ve collected becomes even more valuable as the basis of proof of liability and damages.
Our experienced attorneys have compiled a checklist of the pieces of evidence for you to gather should you ever find yourself the victim of an accident. The earlier the evidence is collected and the more evidence that is obtained, the better chance you have of seeing a desirable outcome. And if you, the injured person, or a loved one has already begun to put this information together, you will have an even earlier jump on the process.
Every case is unique and the necessary evidence is not always obvious. Our checklist is designed to assist you in maximizing the amount and value of evidence collected, however these checklists can’t include every type of evidence possible. Below are the tools you need to jump start your claim:
Other Driver’s Information: Always obtain the other driver’s name, address, phone number, and email address if possible. Make sure to take a photograph of the driver’s license with your phone or a camera if at all possible.
License Plate Number: One of the first pieces of evidence you should write down is the driver’s license plate number. Again, try to photograph the license plate.
Insurance: It’s important to exchange insurance information with the other driver. Write down their policy number and the name of the provider. As always, photograph their information if they have a card.
- After an accident your head is likely to be running a million miles an hour, however stay calm and remember that photographs can potentially be your most important pieces of evidence for a settlement or trial.
- Vehicle: Photograph the damage to your vehicle and any other vehicle involved in the accident. Remember to include shots of all angles, including the license plates of all the vehicles.
- Injuries: If you or someone in your vehicle sustained a visible injury such as bruising, cuts, or scrapes, take photographs of the injury to preserve the state of the injury at the time the injury was sustained.
- More is Better: Do not worry about taking too many photographs. One of our attorneys will decide what photos to use and what not to use. Its always better to have more to work with to prove your case than having too little.
- Always call the police after an accident. This is very important to remember. A police report is a formal record of the accident and can help swing the case in your favor, especially if the other driver was cited for his or her role in the accident.
- Obtain: the names, addresses, phone numbers, and email addresses of any witnesses to the accident.
- Return to the accident scene and visit any nearby homes or businesses for any potential witnesses to the accident.
- Remember: if you are the victim of an accident- every witness who can testify or swear to what they saw during the accident is a checkmark in your column towards success.
- However you must not follow up with the witnesses after you obtain their initial statement. This is the job for your attorney. Let your attorney follow up with the witnesses to obtain an official statement.
- Do Not: try to solicit a written statement from the witness. Obtain their information and let your attorney handle the rest.
- Repair and Written Estimates: After taking photographs of you damaged vehicle, take the vehicle for a repair estimate as soon as possible. Obtain written and dated estimates from at least two repair facilities. Try to obtain a report from one repair shop which you selected without insurance company suggestion.
- Make copies of all medical bills and reports you can obtain resulting from your accident. Even the smallest report or bill strengthens the record of your accident. Your attorney will be able to obtain more detailed reports, however getting a jump start on your case is key to recovering what you deserve.
- Record every hour you miss work, whether you lose wages or not. If you miss work because of the injuries suffered in the accident, or because of doctor appointments, write it down. Keep track of any wages you lose out on. If possible, obtain from your employer a written letter confirming your missed time and lost wages.
Once you have collected your evidence using our checklist, or if you feel that you need professional help, contact one of our experienced personal injury attorneys at stlouisinjuries.com to maximize your chances of recovery. Our number is (314) 878-2537 or toll free at 1-800-371-8220. Be sure to return for the other checklists regarding other types of personal injury claims. It’s important to know how to properly handle any personal injury situation that might arise.