An accident resulting in serious injury can upend your life in a single moment and can happen to anyone. Sadly, 1 in 5 people sought medical attention for an unintentional injury in 2021. No matter how you were hurt, as an accident victim, you can work to regain your quality of life by pursuing rightful compensation for your injury.
In the aftermath of a severe injury, you may feel physically and emotionally overwhelmed. The idea of collecting and sorting the needed documents to support your injury claim may add to your stress. Yet, proper documentation is often crucial to winning damages after you have been hurt in an accident.
It is important to get organized and gather the necessary documents as soon as possible after you or your loved one has been injured. Documentation can significantly impact the final outcome of your injury claim.
Important Documents for Your Personal Injury Claim
In any personal injury case, it is up to the injured party to prove that the harm was directly caused by another person’s actions or negligence. Some claims are more straightforward than others, and the types of documents required for each may vary. However, the following documents are essential in most personal injury cases.
Copy of police or incident reports
If there is a police report of the incident that caused your injury, you should request a copy for your records. When responding to an accident, law enforcement officials will survey the scene, collect evidence, and speak with eyewitnesses. The official police report is often an important starting point for filing a personal injury claim.
If the police were not called for your accident, you may still be able to obtain an incident report. For example, if you were injured in a public place, such as in a store, it is standard procedure for the manager to write an incident report for the company records. In support of your injury claim, you should obtain a copy of any such reports made.
Eyewitness statements can make or break your personal injury case. If witnesses were present when you were hurt, try to obtain his or her account as soon as possible while the details of what happened are still fresh in the witnesses’ memory.
Eyewitnesses can often relate relevant information about the accident, including the people involved and what may have caused the event. At times. what actually happened may be clearer to a witness than to those involved in the accident.
Documenting witness statements can help corroborate your version of events as you move forward with your personal injury claim after an accident.
Photo and video documentation
Photos and videos of the scene of the accident and of the injuries you sustained are excellent pieces of evidence to help prove your injury claim. Photo and video documentation is especially helpful when liability for the accident is in dispute.
Accident scenes are often chaotic. In the event that you are either too hurt or too distracted to take pictures and videos yourself, ask witnesses or bystanders to do it for you. Additionally, you may be able to obtain police or security camera footage of the incident and the events leading up to it.
After you have been hurt in an accident, it is wise to seek immediate medical attention. This is in your best interest for both your long-term physical well-being and to establish a legitimate personal injury claim. Delaying medical treatment can make it difficult for you to prove that your injuries are severe and a result of the accident.
Medical records are essential in successfully pursuing a personal injury claim. Proving the extent of your injuries, pain and suffering, and financial losses all depend on demonstrating your medical condition before and after the accident.
You will likely want to request copies of your medical records from:
- Emergency responders
- The hospital or medical clinic where you received initial treatment
- Your primary care physician
- Medical professionals or healthcare providers that you may have seen after the accident for follow-up treatment
- Physical therapists, chiropractors, massage therapists, and psychologists providing long-term treatment
In addition to medical reports, keep records of all of your medical bills and invoices, prescriptions, and treatments received in relation to the accident. This is all pertinent information that can support your injury case as you seek compensation.
Documentation of lost wages
It is not uncommon to miss work after sustaining an injury. Whether you missed an afternoon of work or were out of work for an extended period of time, with proper documentation, you may be able to recover your lost wages. Further, some injuries impact your long-term ability to work, and you may be eligible for compensation for reduced earning capacity.
The following documents will prove helpful in establishing a claim for lost wages after an accident:
- A letter from your doctor detailing the specific dates that you are unable to work because of your injuries
- A letter from your employer explaining the nature of your work with the company and the period of time that you were absent from work after the accident
- Anything that documents your pre-injury earnings, including pay stubs, tax returns, and employment contracts
Such documents will help attorneys, insurance adjusters, and others determine your lost wages and the full impact of your injuries on your long-term ability to make a living.
Get Help in Pursuing Your Personal Injury Case
Regardless of the type of injury you have sustained, your personal injury claim might not get very far without the correct documentation. An experienced personal injury lawyer can help ensure that you have the right documents to resolve your case successfully.
Pursuing a personal injury case after a serious accident can be both confusing and anxiety-inducing. The attorneys at Judd Shaw Injury Law have decades of combined experience in fighting for New Jersey injury victims. We want to help you during this difficult time.
When you put your injury case in our hands, we will do all of the legal legwork so that you can focus on your recovery. Contact us today at 1-866-909-6894 or fill out our online form for a free case review. A representative of our legal team is standing by to take your call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Content edited by personal injury attorney Judd Shaw. From the beginning, Judd established a set of Core Values laying out the pursuit for excellence in client service. He is a regular host of the Working The Wow podcast, with the belief that providing an exceptional client experience is just as important as delivering a quality service or product. You can find us in Red Bank and Tom‘s River, New Jersey.