The United States has more than 228,000 licensed drivers. With so many drivers sharing the road any given day, it’s always important that you recognize how to deal with car accidents. Vehicle wrecks can be traumatic, costly, and life-altering. Unfortunately, they are also all too common no matter where you live.
If you’re in the Phoenix area, you need to understand how to address your vehicle accident in a way that lets you pick up the pieces and bounce back from it. Here’s what you should know about documenting an auto accident injury in a way that makes sense to you.
Immediately Following the Accident
The most important steps in documenting your vehicle accident happen immediately after it. Following a wreck, you’ll need to start collecting some data and proof of the wreck so that your lawyer can work on your behalf to win your case.
These steps are among the most worthwhile when you need to collect evidence and document everything:
Get Medical Attention if You Need It
The last thing you want to do is drag your feet in getting medical care. Your medical care will not only help you heal any injuries, but you’ll also be able to document your case with accuracy and efficiency. If necessary, take medical transport to the nearest hospital or medical center.
Injuries are often the most costly aspect of your case, so you need to get immediate attention and an accurate diagnosis from a physician. The doctor will ask you to gauge your pain levels, give you a full examination, and might also order some medical images. If you have severe injuries, you may also need surgical procedures or other steps.
Start by getting medical attention as quickly as possible and it will bode well for your accident case.
Exchange Information With the Driver
Next, make sure that you also get the other driver’s information. This includes their phone number, address, license information, insurance, and vehicle registration. Take down the license plate number and make sure that you note the year, make, and model.
During the exchange, avoid saying too much, and never apologize. Your words can be misconstrued in court to act as an admission of guilt, even if you were just speaking offhandedly. Keep their information handy so that you can press forward with the case knowing who you’ll be taking to court or negotiating an out-of-court settlement with.
Call the Police to Do an Accident Report
Get on the phone with the authorities and bring them out to the scene of the accident. Highway patrol, police, sheriff’s offices, or other authorities will come out to the scene of the accident, often with medical professionals in tow.
The authorities that come out to the scene of your accident will take note of both drivers’ renditions of what happened, the time of day, road and weather conditions, and other points of information. They will also help to facilitate the exchange of information if you need them to and can help interview witnesses about what happened during the wreck.
Shortly after the accident, an accident report will be made available to you. In general, you will have to pick it up from the police department or other law enforcement jurisdiction in your area.
Take Photos and Video of the Wreckage
It’s also important that you have some multimedia evidence from the accident. From here, you’ll be in a position to prove your case and your version of what took place. Thankfully, it’s easy to whip out a smartphone and document everything in crystal clear detail.
Make sure that the photos and videos highlight the exact type of collision that you were involved in, and from different angles. Keep the photos and videos in various locations, including your smartphone, the cloud, and other hard drives or systems. When you can document your wreck in this way, you’ll have strong evidence that will help you recoup the amount of money that you need to win your case.
Get the Contact Info of Any Witnesses
Witness testimony or statements are among the most important parts of any case. When you can get someone who can back your rendition of what happened, it goes a long way toward proving your case and that the other driver was at fault.
You will later pass this contact information along to your lawyer so that they can prepare your witness for depositions and make sure that they are available to go to trial if the situation arises. Get as many witnesses as you can so that you’re able to document your case to the best of your ability.
After the Car Accident
There are also some points of information that you’ll need to keep in mind when it comes to the situations following the accident. The subsequent days, weeks, and months after the wreck are when you put the meat on the bones of your case.
This is also the time when you’re able to weigh your case and figure out how strong it is. Follow these points to be certain that you’re managing your car accident in a way that secures the best possible outcome:
Get a Medical Outlook
Since your medical needs are the most important aspect of your case, you’ll be in a better position to win when you handle the appointments head-on. It starts with a visit to the emergency room, urgent care, or other physicians. From there, your doctor will outsource the case to a specialist who can make sure that you get the in-depth care that you need.
This could involve:
- Medical imaging specialists who provide magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), X-Rays, and computerized tomography (CT) scans
- Pain management clinics that can assist you with severe pain issues
- Surgical professionals who will complete a procedure
- Chiropractic clinics
- Physical therapists who will provide rehab and healing services
- Specialists who can assist you with cranial, brain, spinal cord, and other injuries
- A primary care physician who will track and manage your recovery
These car accident injuries are often multifaceted, so you’ll need to be mindful of the details so that you’re taken care of every step of the way.
Take the Vehicle to an Adjuster
Make sure that you also get your vehicle to an adjuster as quickly as possible. This will typically involve having it towed to a shop that your insurance company has a relationship. During this period, you will learn the amount of damage that your vehicle sustained and can figure out how much it will cost to get it fixed or whether it’s a total loss.
Keep this documentation handy to figure out what kind of property damage you’ll seek. If the vehicle is a total loss, the adjuster will let you know the current market value of your vehicle before the wreck and its condition. This will let you know how much you can expect to seek in your case.
You’ll need to juggle these numbers and figure out whether it makes more sense to seek a new vehicle or work to get your automobile fixed. This will depend on the age and condition of your car, and how much value it still holds.
Factor in Missed Time From Work
You need to also make contingencies for any time off that you will need to take from your place of employment. Put in time off and notify the human resources (HR) department about the accident. Keep them abreast of everything happening and you’ll be able to get the time off that you need to heal and build your case accordingly.
Starting from day one, make sure that you also document how much time you had to miss from work. This factors into your case and can also play a role in the damages that you seek. From here, you’ll be able to calculate how much income you missed, which you can recoup in a settlement.
Arrange for Taking Care of Your Life
Some several little details and factors come into play when recovering from a car accident. This could be anything from arranging to get your kids to and from daycare while injured to managing your regular errands.
Keep running documentation on these sorts of circumstances so that you can seek these damages as they come about. This is vital since car accident cases can take several months or even longer to resolve.
Keep Copies of All Documents
Do your due diligence and make sure that you’re managing your files. You will have a lot of documents to keep track of when proving your car accident case, and you must keep them organized by date and type.
When at all possible, keep multiple copies of your documents in different locations. For example, if you have a hard copy document, create another physical copy, and then digitize it and store the PDF on both a hard drive and a cloud-based storage system. Make notations for each document so that you know what it is and what it’s for.
Hire a Qualified Car Accident Lawyer
The most important part about documenting your car accident case happens when you find a lawyer that can assist you. Not only will an attorney help you win your case, but they’ll also offer guidance about what documentation is the most critical.
These pros can have you forward documents to them so that they can also keep copies for their records. Here’s what you need to know about hiring a car accident lawyer that can assist you:
Research the Top Lawyers Available
With so much on the line, you need to make sure that you’re hiring a quality attorney that can assist you. When you hire an attorney that is skillful and renowned, you can put trust in their ability to win your case for you.
Start with some recommendations from people you know who have been in car wrecks and gotten legal representation. Put together a list of the best attorneys in Phoenix so that you have an excellent starting point. Be sure that they’re licensed, insured, and certified by the Maricopa County Bar Association.
Schedule Some Consultations
Take the time to book a consultation with legal professionals in Phoenix who can answer your most pressing questions. They’ll help you figure out the validity of your case and will discuss strategy.
Come prepared with any documents that you’ve already compiled and ask the lawyer if there’s anything that you’re missing.
Ask About Their Contingency Fee
Before signing an agreement with a lawyer in your area, ask them about the prices they charge. In doing this, you’ll be able to get their representation without worrying about the cost.
Many lawyers operate on contingency fees for their services. This means that they keep a percentage of the final payment. Once you have signed an agreement with a lawyer, they’ll be in a better position to discuss the evidence in your case.
Your lawyer will take an accounting of your damages and then will let you know what documentation you will need to keep. This includes property damage, medical damages, pain and suffering, lost wages, and more.
Work Through Your Auto Accident Injury Case
The strategies in this article will guide you when you are working through an auto accident injury situation. Car accident cases can be difficult, so you’ll need the help of the best attorneys in Phoenix that can assist you.
The Sweet Lawyers are more than happy to help you with your case. For a free consultation, reach out to us online or call 1-800-674-7854.