The strength of your client’s car insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit lies in your ability to prove two things: the other driver or external factors were at fault for the car accident and your client suffered damages. To support these two assertions, you need documentation.
The strength of your client’s car insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit lies in your ability to prove two things: the other driver or external factors were at fault for the car accident and your client suffered damages.
Below is a checklist of the key records you should retrieve:
☐ Police report
Sometimes called an incident report or accident report, a police report contains information that will prove crucial to your client’s insurance claim or lawsuit, such as:
- Time, date, and location of the accident (sometimes including the weather condition at the time of the crash)
- Names of the drivers involved
- Name and badge number of the police officer who went to the scene and prepared the report
- Statements from drivers, passengers, and witnesses
- Any traffic laws violated
- Observations made by the officer, including their opinion on what could have caused the accident and how it occurred
☐ Proof of vehicle value and vehicle damage estimates
If your client’s car was damaged in the accident, they could ask for compensation to have it repaired. But to figure out exactly how much to ask for, you need to know the value of the car before the accident happened and how much the repairs would cost.
For some car insurance policies, the insurance company will handle the damage estimate. But in other cases, you may need to get multiple repair estimates from different auto mechanics and body shops.
☐ Medical records
Your client can demand compensation for all medical expenses they incurred as a result of the car accident. That’s why you should get copies of all medical records and billing information related to their treatment, such as:
- Emergency medical services (e.g., ambulance or paramedic company)
- Emergency room treatment
- Lab tests results (e.g., MRI scan, X-ray, bloodwork)
- Hospital admission treatment
- Prescribed medications
- Treatments received from all healthcare providers (e.g., primary care doctor, physical therapist, chiropractor, psychologist)
- Diagnoses, opinions, and conclusions offered by the healthcare providers who treated your client
☐ Proof of income
If your client had to miss work or other opportunities as a result of the car accident, then they should be able to recover any corresponding lost income. If their earning potential has permanently decreased because of the injuries they suffered, they should also be able to recover money to compensate for the income they will lose over time.
To do this, gather all documents that show the wages or sales your client would have received if the accident didn’t occur, such as:
- Paycheck stubs
- Direct deposit records
- Tip records
- Tax returns
- A letter from your client’s employer or client stating how much income your client lost because of the accident
- Your client’s correspondence with their employer or clients regarding their absence from work or their project
☐ Car accident journal
While your client’s memory is still fresh, ask them to write down what happened during and after the accident in their own words. Make sure they also take notes on any communication with parties involved in the accident.
If your client was injured in the accident, also ask them to keep a journal describing their pain and other symptoms related to their injuries. Let them jot down all medical appointments, treatments, and medicines that they had or are still having. They should also log all missed workdays or opportunities.
All these notes will help the insurance adjuster or jury get a better picture of what your client went through because of the accident.
☐ Pictures and videos
While some police reports may already contain pictures and videos related to the accident, your client may have also taken their own documentation. Gather as many pictures and videos as you can, such as close-ups of car damages and wide shots that show the entire accident scene.
If your client was injured, ask them to take pictures of their injuries right after the accident and as these heal.
Gathering all of this documentation from various custodians can be taxing and time-consuming. Let Record Retrieval Solutions take that burden off your shoulders. With our help, you can get all the documents you need quickly so you can also settle your cases and claims faster. Contact us to find out more.