When Documenting An Accident…

Accidents: How to Prepare Documents for A Personal Injury Case

Between police reports and medical bills, there’s a lot of paperwork to keep track of following a personal injury accident. Check out this infographic by McMinn Law Firm to make sure you’re keeping track of the most important forms of documentation. Documentation could help your case resolve faster, and with a better outcome.

The Personal Injury Documentation Checklist

  • Police reports It is possible to obtain a crash report through the Texas Department of Transportation website. It is sometimes referred to as a CR-3, and may be regular or certified. There is a surcharge, or processing fee for obtaining in the crash report. However, in recent years the process has become easier as the records have become available online. You may be able to access the crash report if you have the report number or last names and date of birth of those involved. If a crash report (or CR-3) was not made by a law enforcement officer, it is still possible for driver of the vehicle to make a report of the crash. The report must be submitted no later than the 10th day after the day of the crash. Texas places a few requirements on these official reports – only serious crashes are considered in CR-2s. It must involve the injury or death of a person, or property damage of $1000 or more. You can find out more about crash records forms here.
  • Medical records, medical bills – Hospital bills and who will pay for them are typically at the top of the list of personal injury victim’s concerns. In some cases bills may be paid immediately by the victim’s own insurance policy. However in many cases medical bills will have to paid as they are incurred. There are no state laws that require that medical bills be paid by a defendant in an ongoing process or as they are incurred. When the case is settled the injured person will be able to receive compensation for the injuries. Keeping track of the medical expenses including emergency room visits, x-rays, prescriptions, and transport to and from doctor’s appointments will be important.
  • Insurance claims when communicating with the insurance company, it is important not to admit fault. Don’t accept a settlement if you plan on hiring an attorney.
  • Financial documents, receipts: In a serious car accident, you may have to file for a car accident settlement loan. The loan will allow the injured person to pay for medical bills unless a settlement is reached.
  • Pictures, video evidence: Evidence that demonstrates fault in the accident will help the injured person negotiate a fair settlement or present in court. Consider adding date and time stamps. If you’re using a phone, download an app like Timestamp It to make your life easier.
  • Journal of injuries Keeping a record of injuries during the recovery process will help to show injuries such as pain and suffering It will also help to provide context to medical bills, financial documents and insurance claims.

Car accidents and other injury:

Keeping a record of how your pain and treatment after a personal injury accident is very important to the success of a case. After an accident the pain from the crash or stress from being at the hospital may be overwhelming.

Don’t trust memory, do trust documentation

Recovering physically during this time is the most important task at hand, but time must be made for keeping notes about the injuries as the recovery process is going on. Memory accuracy of an accident can drop very quickly.

Details of an accident: How quickly we forget

Luckily, science tells us that human brains are trained to lose many details of our most painful memories. It is much more common for our brains to store happy memories. We leave just enough painful information in order to avoid potentially harmful activity. Under almost all circumstances, our ability to forget may be an advantage. But when it comes to filing a personal injury case, and receiving fair compensation, losing the information forever won’t aid in recovery.

According to cognitive psychologists, we lose most of our short term memory very quickly. Eyewitness information can contain misinformation or be altered if not collected immediately. That’s why it’s so important to keep a record of your accident while you are still in the recovery process.

Tips for documenting your personal injury accident case

Immediately after the accident:

  1. Begin documentation as soon as possible. As soon as your head is clear, note everything that you can recall about how the accident occurred. Be sure to include what you were doing before the crash, where you were travelling, the state of the passengers in the vehicle, the time, and the weather.
  2. Enlist help to document the accident. In a serious crash, the police will record testimony from each of the parties involved. You may consider recording a note of what happened in your smartphone or asking another passenger to witness to assist you.
  3. Be thorough in your description A person must incorporate each detail of what he or she observed, listened to, and experienced—twists, blows, and shocks to his or her body directly prior to, during, and right after the accident. In addition, an individual must incorporate anything that he or she recalls listening to anyone—an individual involved in the accident or a witness – state about the accident.

Documenting injuries from a car accident or personal injury

In the initial days following the individual’s accident, the individual must make everyday notes of every pain and discomfort that his or her injuries bring about. He or she might experience pain, discomfort, anxiety, sleeplessness, or other difficulties which are unnoticeable or minor as another injury but for which he or she should request supplemental payment. If an injury victim fails to note pain and discomforts right away, they might not recall later on what to incorporate in his or her request for settlement. It can be as many as weeks or months after the accident when filing this paperwork. By making notes, it will be easier for your representation to demonstrate to the insurance company how much and what type of pain and discomfort the crash victim was in.

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