Seeking legal counsel with a car accident claim affords you practical help when dealing with the auto insurance company or other parties to the collision. However, the lawyer cannot prepare a successful case without sufficient assistance from you.
Conscientious lawyers offer a free consultation to determine if a case is valid and what course of action to take. Supplying appropriate information can improve the odds of a top lawyer accepting your case and having enough evidence to recover damages. Consider the various details a lawyer requires after an automobile crash.
Share all relevant details about the accident, including what you were doing before the event. A distracted or otherwise compromised driver will bear some fault. However, drivers with partial responsibility are still eligible for damage claims that other parties caused because California is a pure comparative fault state.
Specify how many cars were in the accident and how the incident played out. Determining fault may come down to recreating the collision, and details that seem inconsequential could prove vital. For example, what was the order of events? When did you hear the sound of screeching tires? When did you smell burnt rubber or leaking fluids?
Who the other parties are can affect when you need to file your case. For example, an accident with a government vehicle limits you to submitting a tort claim within six months, but you also might have as long as one year. In most other personal injury cases, the deadline is two years, but the time is only one year if the injured person discovers the harm later.
Remember to include information about anything unusual that occurred at the time of the impact. After the accident, try to take photos, videos and audio recordings of the scene. You usually cannot collect too much evidence.
Photos of the vehicles help establish the extent of property damage. Take pictures of the outside and inside of the car, as well as any damage to your belongings. These photos and videos can assist in determining all the parties at fault and the due compensation.
Information About Other Parties to the Accident
Provide the information you exchanged with the other driver. Give your firm the names, addresses, phone numbers, email addresses, license plate numbers and driver’s license numbers you received. Any further details you know about them, such as social media handles and their places of business, could prove helpful. Your lawyer can take over communicating with the other driver, law enforcement, witnesses and insurers from this point.
Share any statements from witnesses. These expressions can provide alternative viewpoints of the scene and possible arguments from the defense. If you can get the contact information of witnesses, supply these to your lawyer as well. Remember to share this contact information, even if you have already contacted these parties.
Conversations About the Accident
When discussing the case with anyone, whether an officer, other injured parties or the insurance company, you should avoid discussing too many details or accepting any blame. The court could use such a statement to raise the amount of your liability in the event.
Regardless of what you said at the scene or in additional conversations, share it all with your lawyer. Discuss anything you said to the insurance company and statements that you provided to the police as well. You have the right to receive a copy of statements you made, so request them from the insurance company.
If you have already spoken to witnesses, passengers and drivers after the incident, relay the facts of the conversations with the firm representing you. Your lawyer can look for any inconsistencies or additional evidence.
Police Report and Tickets
The police report recounts the official details of the event and is another essential piece of evidence. If you can’t obtain a copy of the police report, your attorney may be able to get it. Try to find out additional details about law enforcement on the scene. Politely request a card from the officer or the badge number after speaking together.
If the officer issued you a citation, give a copy to your lawyer. A traffic ticket does not necessarily prove fault and does not preclude you from receiving compensation for damages. Having the information helps your lawyer to prepare the case. Sometimes a ticket or report has errors that a lawyer can help you try to correct.
Your Injuries and Treatments
You should share any harm you experienced from the collision, but also let your attorney know of any previous injuries or ailments you had. The defense lessens its liability if it can prove that any pain or suffering you feel is a preexisting condition. Your attorney can help you establish what damage was due to the accident.
Photos and videos can prove helpful here. Some injuries do not show up until days later, but a medical professional may be able to identify signs of internal damage. Symptoms such as loss of hunger, dizziness and mild aches can result from an accident and be signs of more severe injury.
Hospital receipts and records will be essential to establish damages. Give your lawyer copies of the diagnoses by the medical staff and any treatment the doctor suggests or authorizes.
Offer records about emotional or psychological harm you experience after the event and any professional diagnosis for these as well. Pain and suffering fall under noneconomic damages that have no caps. Abundant details about the internal struggles you experience after an accident help determine a fair insurance settlement or can convince the court of more significant damages.
Remember to share information about over-the-counter treatments or self-medicating you may have done after the crash. Did you begin to purchase pain medication? Did you buy a brace for a limb because of strain? Do you now use an extra cushion for your office or car? These actions might help to determine the extent of your injuries.
Your Employment and Wages
Share details about your work and income. If the accident affects your employment in the future, the settlement can take this into account and offer compensation for future lost wages.
You may also be eligible for lost wages for any time you missed from work due to the accident, injuries and treatment. Disclose your earnings after the accident to provide a comparison.
Your Insurance Information
Your lawyer needs your current insurance information to communicate with your insurance company. Provide a copy of your policy and statements or receipts that prove you’re current on your premium payments. If your insurer has to cover any of the damages, it might initially give a lowball offer. A lawyer can help you push for the total compensation available.
An insurer might argue that your policy is not up-to-date or claim another problem with processing a claim. The company could even say that it needs more time to verify the validity of your policy. Giving these documents to your lawyer can eliminate delays.
Dedicated Lawyers at Johnson Attorney Group
A lawyer is a valuable teammate to have on your side when trying to recover damages after a car accident. Your attorney can provide better assistance when you share the necessary information.
If you need a competent firm to review your claim and educate you on your rights and options, call Johnson Attorneys Group at 1(800) 208-3538. We’ll provide a free case review and personalized approach to your circumstances.