What Evidence Is Important For My Auto Accident Injury Claim?
All evidence is important for your auto accident injury claim. Evidence includes photographs, statements made by parties and witnesses, notations of skid marks and debris in the street. Property damage estimates and photographs of damage to cars and other property, medical bills and records, and photographs of visible injuries. These are all considered evidence. And evidence is important because you need to prove who is at fault for the collision and you need to prove your damages.
However, there is a big difference between truth and proof, and proof is the most important thing when dealing with a claim against an insurance company. The Truth is what happened to you. How it happened, how you felt, the injuries you suffered, the damage done to your car and how the collision affected your life. But when it comes to making a claim, proof is what will count to an insurance company to get them to pay you. You can tell the truth to an insurance company all day long and it will mean little to them unless you can prove what you are saying. Therefore, you need to prove the nature and extent of your injuries and how the collision occurred. The evidence that you collect will be essential to proving your claim. As I already mentioned, photographs of the scene, property damage, debris, skid marks, injuries, the other party’s insurance, driver’s license, and license plate are examples of different types of evidence. Evidence also includes documentation of your medical care. If you are injured and see a doctor, the doctor will enter the information of your visit into your medical record. Your medical record becomes evidence and proof of your injury.
If you do not go to a doctor, if you self-treat at home by resting and taking over the counter medicine, you are not generating any documentation to prove that you were injured other than perhaps a receipt for Tylenol or Advil. Insurance companies put little weight on such evidence. Seeing a doctor, following up with the doctor as required, getting physical therapy or tests like MRIs when medically necessary creates proof that is acceptable to an insurance company.
Regarding property damage: when you take your car to be evaluated, the property damage estimate becomes proof of the impact. It can be proof of the force of impact and/or the injury producing potential of the collision. It’s important to obtain a thorough property damage estimate because modern cars are built with flexible bumpers that can take a hard impact and pop back into shape leaving very little obvious evidence of an impact. Insurance companies are good at using photographs that show very little impact to argue that if the car is not damaged and therefore the people inside the car could not have possibly been injured.
Therefore, you need the body shop to take a look under and inside the bumper and tear the bumper down for evidence. Usually, there are impact absorbing components that were damaged or destroyed that you cannot see from the outside. Moreover, the evidence that you need to collect is not limited to photographs of damaged car and parts, but the physical preservation of the damaged parts. Collecting and holding onto the damaged parts can help prove that you were hurt, and that there was a hard impact where the photographs of the exterior of the car would seem to suggest otherwise.
Evidence also includes keeping documents of your prescriptions, your time off work, how much money you lost, and impairment in your ability to do your regular daily activities. For example, if you maintain your own home and do your own repairs, cleaning and maintenance, but you can’t anymore because of your injuries, collecting the invoices and receipts from people you have to hired to assist you will help support your argument that you’re injured, and most importantly, that your injuries affected your ability to engage in activities of daily living.
How Important Is Seeking Timely Medical Treatment After An Auto Accident?
Seeking timely medical treatment after an auto accident is important. The sooner you get medical care, the sooner you document the fact that you were hurt. Insurance companies pay very close attention to the time period that elapses between the time of the accident and the time of the first medical visit. The longer the delay between the collision and the first medical visit is potentially significant. If you wait days or weeks before seeing a doctor, the insurance company will argue that your injuries are minimal, that they weren’t serious, and that you may not have required the medical care that you received. A person who needs an ambulance at the scene of the collision, and is taken to the emergency room, has a much more powerful argument that they were injured compared to someone who waits two or three weeks to seek medical attention. Delays is seeking medical care weakens your ability to argue that you have a serious injury.
It does not necessarily mean that people who do not run off to see a doctor right away, and do not take time off of work do not have serious injuries, but the insurance company is looking for reasons to pay as little as possible on your claim. If you decide to tough it out on your own and care for your injuries yourself, it doesn’t destroy your case, but it helps provide an argument against you and raises questions about whether you were hurt. Why didn’t you go to a doctor sooner? Why did you continue working at your physically demanding job? Why is there no apparent impact on your life for a week, two weeks, or three weeks after the collision and before you saw a doctor? If you want to make the best possible claim, you should see a doctor as soon as possible. You can also go to an urgent care if your regular doctor is not available right away, document the injuries, and follow the doctor’s advice.
Chances are that you are going to get better over time. You may not need care. Not every collision requires a large injury claim, not every collision is, in fact, going to produce an injury. But, you want to cover the bases and protect yourself by at least documenting the fact that you were hurt, and the best way to do that is to see a doctor as soon as possible.
For more information on Important Evidence In An Auto Injury Claim, a personalized consultation is your next best step. Get the information and legal answers you are seeking by calling (818) 530-1770 today.