The Complete Car Accident Document Checklist to Show Your Lawyer

car accident document checklist

According to the latest data from the California Highway Patrol, more than 277,000 people in the state sustain injuries from vehicular collisions every year. 

If you’ve been injured in a car accident, then a personal injury attorney can help you receive the compensation you need to heal and recuperate. 

To solidify your case, you’ll need to come prepared with the right information. Today, we’re sharing the ultimate car accident document checklist, so you never have to worry about leaving anything behind. 

A Copy of Your Insurance Policy

After a car accident, you’ll communicate the details to your car insurance company. Though they may offer you a payout to help with any damages, keep in mind that they’re not in the business of losing money. 

If you’re unfamiliar with this process, then you might be tempted to take their offer, even if it’s far less than you deserve. 

Your car accident lawyer can communicate with your insurance company so you don’t have to. Yet, they’ll need to be well-versed in every aspect of your coverage before they make that call.

At your first meeting, bring a copy of your most recent policy so they can review it thoroughly. If you can’t find one, let your attorney know. As long as you give your approval, they can usually obtain a copy directly from the insurance company.

Along with a copy of the report, it’s also wise to bring proof that you’ve paid all of your car insurance policy premiums. This serves as evidence that your policy is current and in force. 

The Police Report

A police report is a comprehensive document that contains all of the pertinent details about what happened before, during, and immediately after your car accident.

It will include valuable information, such as:

  • The date, time, and location of the collision 
  • Names and contact information of all affected parties
  • Statements from witnesses
  • Details on personal injuries or property damages sustained
  • Diagrams of the accident
  • Roadway and weather conditions

Especially if some time has passed between the accident and your meeting, you may not remember all of the important details about what happened. However, they should all be contained within the Police Report. 

Depending on where you live, you may be able to request a copy of the report. For instance, Sacramento residents can submit a request online through the City of Sacramento. 

Video or Photographic Evidence

Before leaving the scene of your car accident, try to take both still photographs and videos. As you do, capture the full extent of the scene, as well as small details such as:

  • License plate numbers
  • Damages to your vehicle
  • Damages to the other party’s vehicle
  • Personal injuries
  • Any outlying conditions (e.g. adverse weather, traffic obstructions)

These types of evidence can fortify your car accident case, providing information that you might have forgotten if you hadn’t captured it on film. At the same time, your lawyer can also request copies of any photos and videos that your insurance company might have of the scene. 

Witness Statements

While the Police Report may contain some degree of witness information, it’s still a good idea to keep your own records. 

If you spoke to anyone at the scene, be sure to write down their name and contact information. This includes anyone directly involved in the accident, as well as any bystanders who witnessed it occur. 

Your lawyer will review all statements from witnesses, and contact those parties if necessary.

Medical Records

Did you visit a physician immediately following your accident? Even if your injuries aren’t initially visible, remember that many types of soft tissue injuries could take a while to set in. 

That’s why it’s always smart to schedule an appointment with your primary care provider as soon as possible after a car accident. If the accident resulted in emotional or mental distress, then you may need to seek psychological or psychiatric care in addition to physical treatment. 

With your permission, your lawyer should be able to retrieve these records to learn more about any injuries you sustained. 

These reports can reveal details about your diagnosis, as well as information on estimated recovery times. With this data, they can fight to make sure the compensation you receive is adequate to cover your recovery, as well as any time you might miss from work.

Of course, you should always call 911 or visit the nearest emergency room if your injuries are severe or life-threatening following a car accident. 

Pay Stubs

If your car accident requires you to take time off work, then your lawyer may be able to help you recover some of those lost wages.

To do so, they’ll need to know how much money you were making before the accident occurred. They’ll also need to understand your pay schedule. 

If you returned to work following the accident, but at a limited capacity, then you’ll need to bring both your pre-accident and post-accident earnings reports.

Keep This Car Accident Document Checklist Handy

No one wants to anticipate being in a car accident. We trust our vehicles to take us safely where we need to go, but the reality is that a collision can occur. 

If you experience one, then it pays to have the right legal team on your side. With access to the data contained in this car accident document checklist, they can get right to work. Meanwhile, you can rest up and heal. 

Our team of expert car accident lawyers can help you receive the compensation you need to recover from your injuries and get back on the road with confidence. Contact us today for a free consultation. 

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