If you've been involved in a car accident, it is likely that you will need to prepare a claim to recover damages. Getting ready to file a claim can be a complex process, and neglecting to prepare correctly can lessen your settlement amount. Learn what you should include when you submit your claim to maximize your damages.
When you begin to gather your documentation, you will need to keep it organized. An expanding file folder can be used to store your papers, or you may use a series of files, binders, or other organization options. Whatever your choice is, keeping your paperwork in one place will make sorting your documents easier and the process of filing your claim much simpler.
Your files should include these sections:
- Property Damage
- Medical Bills
- Medical Records
- Wage Verification
- Witness Information
This section will contain all documentation that covers property damage. This can include body shop estimates, towing bills, receipts or estimates for damaged personal items, or other proof of value for property damaged or destroyed in the accident.
Here, you will store any written correspondence in chronological order. These documents should include:
- A copy of your notification letter to the at-fault party and their insurance company
- The insurance company reservation of rights letter
- Any letters to or from medical providers
- Letters with the at-fault party's adjuster
- Your demand letter
- Any other correspondence related to your claim
Organize all medical bills in chronological order in the section. These bills can be from chiropractors, therapists, emergency medical treatment, your physician, or other medical services. Your ambulance bill, prescription receipts, and other bills should be stored here.
The previous section is for tracking the financial part of your medical care, but this section will detail your treatment and care. Here, list each procedure in chronological order. Include medical records such as:
- Admitting charts
- Medical provider's notes, including nurses' notes
- Exam and test results
- Medical narratives
- Copies of imaging results
If you are out of work while you recover from your accident, you can claim your lost wages in your settlement. You will need proof from your employer regarding your wages. A letter from them can be used to demonstrate your lost wages, but include previous pay stubs or any other documents related to your wage verification.
In this section, you will keep contact information for any witnesses, as well as copies of their statements. Put them in alphabetical order by name if there are more than a few statements to keep track of.
Images are powerful tools to document the accident. Include printed copies of any accident photos. Pictures can show the area of the accident, signage, property damage, and injuries. Write the subject, photographer, and date on the back of each. Include notes regarding video footage, such as from a security camera.
Here, you will keep a record of all your interactions with the other driver's insurance company, witnesses, medical providers, your employer, or other related to the accident. Take detailed notes of the interaction, including the date, time, setting, and what the contact was regarding. Keep track of offers and counter offers as your settlement progresses.
If it becomes necessary to take your case to court, a well-organized case can save you and your attorney a lot of time and effort. Keep track of all documents related to your accident to prevent evidence from becoming lost, and you will help to maximize the compensation you receive. If you need help gathering documentation or you are unsure of what to include, contact a car accident attorney for assistance.
Our Altoona car accident lawyers have served our injured clients for decades. We have the knowledge and experience to help you win your claim, and we are dedicated to protecting your interests. Contact Goldstein, Heslop, Steele, Clapper, Oswalt, and Smith to begin your case with a consultation.