After an accident, it is important to know how to document your car accident injuries. You can do this by taking photos while at the scene, seeking medical care, and keeping a pain journal. You can also preserve all records regarding the treatment and progression of your injuries, get witness testimony, and get a second medical opinion.
Injuries can occur unexpectedly, and documenting them promptly is essential for both your recovery and any legal claims that may arise from the incident. This will ensure proper medical attention and help in providing evidence to support any claims in the future.
The Importance of Documenting Car Accident Injuries
If you’re filing a claim for a car accident, it’s essential to organize all related documents. This can help you secure a better settlement by ensuring that no crucial evidence is lost, and that your attorney has all the information he or she needs to present a strong case to the insurance company.
How Injury Documentation Can Help Your Case
It may seem time-consuming, but documenting your car accident injuries is crucial. Proper documentation protects your right to pursue an insurance or civil claim. Without taking the proper steps to preserve evidence of your injuries and their effects, you may struggle to recover any compensation you could have otherwise collected.
Documenting your injuries is also important to establish fault. Unless a party admits fault at the scene, it can be challenging to determine who is at fault. Proper documentation, such as photos of the vehicle, the location, and skid marks on the road, can help establish who is responsible for the accident.
Documentation plays a vital role in proving that an injury has occurred due to a car accident. Without sufficient evidence, it may be challenging to determine the extent of your injuries and receive adequate compensation.
Step-by-Step Guide on Documenting Car Accident Injuries
Gathering the most important evidence needed in a car accident case includes doing the following:
Take Photos While at the Scene
Accident scene photos and videos are crucial evidence in a personal injury claim. They can help determine who was at fault in an accident. Take pictures immediately after the accident to document the scene, injuries, damages, and people involved. Photographs can help show the setting of the accident and traffic conditions at the time, especially if it occurred at an intersection or parking lot.
Photographs of the accident scene can also visually capture significant details, such as car positions and weather conditions like rain or snow, indicating if the driver was driving too fast for the conditions.
It is important to capture photographic evidence of the damage incurred by your vehicle. Make sure to take multiple pictures from various angles, including both close-up and long-distance shots. Take photos of all the cars involved, as the damage sustained by each vehicle can assist in determining fault. For instance, if there is a dent on the car that was hit, it can serve as evidence that the other driver caused damage.
Seek Medical Care
Seek medical attention after an accident, even if there are no visible injuries. Some injuries may not show symptoms until days or weeks later. Moreover, getting an official medical record from a doctor’s visit after an accident builds evidence to support legal proceedings, if necessary. A doctor’s diagnosis can serve as evidence of the injury’s severity and extent when submitting claims for compensation from insurance companies and defendants in court cases.
Waiting too long to seek medical care can lead to complications in your claim. Opponents of your claim may argue that if your injuries weren’t severe enough to require immediate medical attention, they don’t qualify for compensation. They may also allege that your injuries were caused by something other than the car crash, or that you made them worse by delaying treatment. Therefore, it’s essential to seek medical help at the earliest opportunity to protect your claim.
Keep a Pain Journal
Keeping a journal about how your car accident injuries affect your ability to function and participate in day-to-day activities is also recommended.
For instance, you should document any pain you experience while:
- Changing clothes
- Maintaining personal hygiene
- Completing household chores
- Performing work duties
- Any other activities that become difficult or impossible due to injuries
It’s important for your loved ones to document how your injuries have impacted your life and to what extent they help take care of you. They can write down the tasks they helped you perform or performed for you, as well as the time they spent with you every day. This documentation helps to highlight the severity of your injuries and their debilitating effects.
Preserve All Records Regarding the Treatment and Progression of Your Injuries
Don’t leave your doctor’s office without requesting copies of your treatment plan. This will help you understand the medical care you will need in the future and enable you to pursue compensation for any future losses related to the accident. Take notes of any expenses incurred due to medical treatments or lost wages caused by doctor’s appointments. This will demonstrate the financial losses that you have already suffered as a result of the accident.
Get Witness Testimony
It is essential to gather the names, addresses, and phone numbers of any witnesses present. Even if the police are on the scene, having witness statements can make the claims process easier. Witnesses can provide car accident witness statements on what they saw or heard, and describe the scene before, during, and after the accident. They may include drivers or passengers from the involved vehicles, pedestrians, nearby business employees or patrons, or motorists who were not involved but stopped to help. The details shared by witnesses can help create a narrative of what happened, establish fault, and prove who was involved and how the accident occurred.
Get a Second Medical Opinion
Seeking a second opinion from a qualified medical professional and following the recommended treatment can make it difficult for an insurance company to argue about the severity of your injuries. By demonstrating that you are taking your injuries seriously and seeking the best possible treatment, your attorney can counter the insurance company’s arguments.
Common Mistakes to Avoid While Documenting Car Accident Injuries
A car crash can be a stressful experience, and it’s crucial to know what to do to protect your rights and receive fair compensation for any injuries sustained. However, many people unknowingly make costly mistakes that could harm their claim. To avoid such errors, it’s essential to be aware of common missteps made by car accident victims. Some of these include:
- Failing to get prompt medical attention
- Failure to gather evidence
- Failure to document the accident scene.
- Not documenting injuries
Other mistakes that can hurt your case are:
Making Apologies and Admitting Fault
After an accident, it’s normal to feel the urge to apologize, even if the crash wasn’t your fault. But it’s important to avoid admitting wrongdoing at the scene, as this could be misinterpreted and used against you later in court. Instead, try to keep calm and collected while exchanging necessary information with the other drivers involved.
Accepting a Quick Insurance Payment
It is common for insurance adjusters to offer a speedy settlement after a car accident. However, they may hope that you accept a lower amount than what you are actually entitled to. Therefore, it is advisable not to settle too quickly without fully comprehending the extent of your injuries and their long-term impact on your life.
Hiding Pre-Existing Medical Conditions
After a car accident, you will probably be speaking with doctors and specialists who will want to know about your medical history. It is crucial that you disclose everything, no matter how insignificant it may seem. Failing to reveal a previous medical condition or injury can harm your car accident lawsuit. It is much worse to be caught in a lie about a previous condition or injury than to be too honest with your medical provider about it.
Not Being Aware of the Statute of Limitations
In Ohio, there are time limits for filing personal injury claims. If you fail to meet the deadline that applies to your case, you may lose the opportunity to seek compensation. The Ohio statute of limitations for personal injury is two years from the date when the injury occurred.
Not contacting a Lawyer
If you have been seriously injured in a car accident, it is crucial to reach out to an experienced car accident attorney as soon as possible. An attorney provides legal guidance on your available options. Once you have retained legal representation, your car accident lawyer can take care of all the details involved in putting together an insurance claim and ensure that you receive fair compensation for your injuries. The sooner you begin working with a car accident attorney, the better your chances of achieving a successful outcome.