If you’ve been hurt in a recent traffic accident, you’re far from alone. According to the Texas Department of Transportation, our state saw over 12,000 serious injury crashes in 2020.
When you’re reeling from a collision, struggling with pain, or worrying about medical bills, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. Sometimes, the last thing you want to do is put more onto your plate.
While preparing your car accident case can take time, it’s a crucial way to get the compensation you deserve. Whether you’re dealing with insurance companies or considering taking things to court, here are a few ways you should prepare in advance.
Document the Scene
One of the best ways to prepare for your car accident case is to start right away. The scene of the collision will always offer some crucial evidence that can help you during your settlement negotiation or trial.
If you are unhurt and if it’s safe to do so, document the scene right away. Gather photo and video evidence of any nearby traffic signs or road hazards, skid marks, and damage to either vehicle. You may need to move your car first if the auto accident occurred on a busy street, but if you’re on a less-trafficked road, try to get evidence of the position of the vehicles when the car crash happened.
Gather Contact Details
You’ll want to get the contact information, license plate number, and insurance information of the other driver. Don’t forget to also try getting the contact information of any bystanders who are willing to act as a witness.
Call the Police
Make sure you call the police, even if the other driver says it isn’t necessary or wishes to work it out between the two of you. The police report acts as an objective account of what happened, and it may become critical to your case.
Write Down What Happened
Even though you’ll have the police report as evidence, it’s a good idea to sit down and document everything you can remember from the accident while your memory is still fresh. Even minor details can become important to proving your case, including the following:
- A diagram of the area where the accident happened
- The weather and road conditions in the area
- The appearance of the other driver, including signs of fatigue or impairment
- Anything the other driver told you about their actions, mental state, or culpability
If you don’t have time to do this right after the traffic accident, or if you’re hurt and in pain, try to get this information down as soon as you can.
Partner With an Expert Attorney
Once the dust settles, reach out to an expert attorney. The emphasis here is on the word expert: you’re looking for someone with experience with the local legal system as well as a proven track record of working on personal injury cases specifically. Not only can this person help you with the settlement negotiation, but they can also help you bring your case to trial if needed.
However, don’t forget that your attorney can only help as much as you let them. When you’re preparing for your case, make sure to tell them the whole story, even details you’re afraid will prove you’re at fault. Not only does this ensure that your lawyer doesn’t get surprised by these details down the line, but an experienced attorney can decide how you should present this information in the best light.
While our legal team will help you prepare most of the paperwork and documentation around your case, there are also several things you’ll need to gather on your own.
Make sure to keep all documents related to the medical treatment you’ve received. This may include bills, treatment recommendations, diagnostic images, and prescription medications for your injury.
One additional thing to keep in mind: make sure you follow your doctor’s advice and treatment schedule! The last thing you want to do is skip appointments, which can make it look like your injuries don’t warrant compensation.
Evidence of Vehicular Damage
In most car accident cases, a part of the compensation comes from damages to the vehicle. Get an itemized list of the damages, repair quotes, and other details. In addition, it might help to bring any past maintenance or repair paperwork, as this can prove that your car’s current condition is the result of the accident, not a past breakdown.
If you’ve missed work or lost income due to your injuries, you’ll need to secure paperwork to prove it. Bring copies of your pay stubs or other records of missed work.
Stay Off of Social Media
The wrong social media post, no matter how innocuous, can damage your case. Worse, for anyone without experience in these kinds of cases, it can be hard to tell when you’re putting damaging information into the wrong hands. Anyone checking your profile may argue that your injuries can’t be severe based on your activities.
The laws regarding private social media accounts are complicated, though attorneys are not permitted to use deceptive tactics to view one. However, insurance companies have no such qualms, and some will hire private investigators to check social media accounts, among other things.
To play it safe, take a break from all social media until your case is resolved.
Prepare for Court, if Needed
If your case goes to court, your lawyer will be essential in helping you understand basic courtroom proceedings and preparing your testimony. They’ll brief you on what to expect at each stage of your specific case.
They can also help you focus on statements that will prove your case—and avoid the ones that can put it in jeopardy. This can be especially important if you’re faced with an opposing lawyer who tries intimidation tactics. With practice and a careful review of your case, you’ll have no trouble feeling prepared when your court date approaches.
Let Us Handle Your Car Accident Case
Car accident cases can get complicated fast, and no one likes to feel like they’re drowning in difficult legal decisions after an injury. If you need solid legal advice from a team that can defend you in court, we’re here to help.
The Law Office of Arturo Martinez, PC has served countless clients throughout Texas, and we have the experience and skills to protect your legal rights. Contact us today to get the compensation you deserve.