When you get into a car accident, you probably already know that you should get some information from the other involved drivers. But do lawyers want more specific information?
Getting into a car accident can be frightening, regardless if you are the party at fault or not. Most people know that when they're involved in a collision they need to get the other person's information—their name and insurance policy, at the very least. However, if you plan on retaining the services of a car accident lawyer after a crash, you'll want to have much more information than just that. So what should you make sure you can provide the lawyer?
1) A detailed, written account of what happened.
When you get into an accident, it can be easy to forget the details of what happened and how the accident was caused. As soon as you can, write down details like where it happened, what the weather conditions were like, and how it was caused. It is a lot easier for a lawyer to build a case based on a detailed account—"Car A hit Car B while Car B was waiting at a red light during a snowstorm"—than based on a more vague account—"Car A rear-ended Car B."
2) Photos of the accident.
With most people these days carrying some sort of smart phone, obtaining photos of a car crash is pretty easy. Make sure to take several photos from different angles to truly capture the damage done to your car. Again, the more detail you can provide to your lawyer, the better equipped they will be to fight for compensation.
3) Information regarding your insurance policy.
Simply handing over an insurance card that has a policy number isn't enough. Find out what your exact limits are and what your policy covers. Print out policy documents and give copies to your lawyer. This will help them figure out the best way to negotiate a case, as they will know the exact details of what your insurance covers. If you can, obtain copies of the insurance policies of the other involved drivers.
4) Medical bills and reports about any injuries.
If you're injured in the crash, it's important to seek medical attention as soon as possible. The longer you wait, the harder it will be for an attorney to prove that it was the accident that caused the injury. Ask your doctors for detailed reports of what injuries you have sustained, as well, because like with every aspect of a car accident case, the more detail available, the better chance you have of obtaining compensation.
5) Records of other expenses you've incurred.
Other expenses you've had to pay or monetary loss you've incurred due to the car accident should be recorded, as well. That includes things like days you've had to miss of work from injuries and doctor visits and the cost of renting a car if yours is too damaged to be driven. Keeping records of the money you've lost, in one way or another, from being in a car accident will help a lawyer determine the amount of compensation to seek.
6) What your intended or desired outcome is.
When you hire a car accident lawyer, you should also discuss your expectations for what will happen and the compensation you think is owed to you. You should be realistic here—if your car was worth $10,000 and was totaled, you won't get $25,000 to replace your car. Discuss with your lawyer what sort of compensation or damages you want to seek, and your lawyer will explain was you can reasonably expect. Then, the claim can be filed after you've made an agreement on what you'll be fighting for. Lawyers are not magicians—they can't seek out unrealistic dollar amounts for minimal damages just because you were not at fault in an accident, so don't expect them to be able to do so.