29 Dec, 2023

How to Document Your Car Accident Injuries in Bloomington, IL

Author Todd A. Strong
Female motorist in crash for crash insurance fraud getting out of car. How to document your car accident injuries
Female motorist in crash for crash insurance fraud getting out of car. How to document your car accident injuries

Injuries can happen unexpectedly, and documenting them promptly is essential for both your recovery and any legal claims that may arise from the incident. Taking such steps will ensure proper medical attention and help in providing evidence to support any claims in the future.

The Importance of Documentation After an Accident

If you have been involved in a car accident and are filing a claim, it is crucial to keep all related documents organized. Doing so can help you obtain a better settlement by providing necessary evidence and ensuring that your attorney has all the information needed to present a strong case to the insurance company.

In determining how to prove you are not at fault in a car accident, documentation can be critical. It can be difficult to determine who is at fault unless one of the parties admits fault at the scene. Proper documentation, such as photos of the vehicle, the accident location, and skid marks on the road, can help establish who is responsible for the accident.

In addition to establishing fault, you need to justify the amount of damages for which you are seeking compensation. Proper documentation, including medical bills and receipts, payment records to show time missed from work and lost earnings, and other expenses related to your injuries and treatment, is crucial. Such documentation allows you to accurately quantify your damages and provide proof of your expenses to justify your damages claim.

Another reason documenting a crash is important is that stories can change. The other party might try to change his or her story to get more out of your insurance or push the blame on you if the crash is his or her fault. Having documentation helps ensure that facts are recorded, so stories stay consistent.

While it may seem time-consuming, documenting your car accident injuries is essential. Proper documentation protects your right to pursue an insurance or civil claim. Without taking the necessary steps to preserve evidence of your injuries and their effects, you may struggle to recover any compensation you could have otherwise collected.

Consequences of Not Properly Documenting Injuries

Proper documentation establishes a clear and accurate account of the chain of events that led to your car accident. Without sufficient documentation, it is challenging to build a comprehensive and credible case to present to insurers or in court. It's possible that insurers and those who oppose you may exploit any lack of information to challenge your account of the incident, question your trustworthiness, and even attempt to hold you responsible for the incident.

Documentation, such as photos of the scene, vehicle damage, skid marks, police reports, and witness statements, helps reconstruct the accident and create a clearer picture of how it occurred and who might be at fault.

It is essential to document all the important details related to your claim to avoid losing crucial evidence that may prove the other party's negligence. Failure to do so might result in a lower settlement offer or even a complete denial of your claim.

If the documentation related to your car accident case is incomplete, it can create obstacles in determining the fault. Therefore, it is of utmost importance to collect and preserve all pertinent information to enhance your position and safeguard your rights. To ensure that you receive fair compensation for your injuries and losses, it is advisable to seek the assistance of a car accident lawyer who can help you present a strong case.

Steps to Take After an Accident

The steps that you take after an accident can have a significant impact on your case. Taking the following steps will maximize your chances of making a successful claim.

Seek Immediate Medical Attention and Keep All Medical Records

You should seek medical attention immediately after an accident. Your health and recovery should be your top priority. Even if you think you have not been seriously injured, some injuries may have delayed symptoms that could appear later. A quick medical check-up can identify such injuries and determine the severity of the ones you initially thought were minor.

Seeking medical attention also proves that you were injured in the accident and shows your intention to treat your injuries. If you ignore medical treatment, you may not be able to prove to your insurance company that your injury was caused by the accident.

After your first medical visit, ask your healthcare provider for a copy of all medical records that document the care you received after the accident. Though there may be many forms related to your medical treatment, each record is valuable evidence that your lawyer can use to prove the severity of your injuries and support your claim.

Your medical file should contain:

  • The medical practitioners' diagnoses, opinions, and conclusions about your condition
  • An in-depth and precise assessment of the treatments given to you
  • An evaluation of your current medical state
  • The medical bills related to your treatment
  • The result or expected result of the treatments
  • Detailed descriptions of future treatment procedures and the estimated medical expenses

Medical expenses are a crucial component of a personal injury claim. Any information you have can help you and your attorney gain a significant advantage.

Collect Evidence at the Accident Scene

Accident scene photos and videos are important pieces of evidence in a personal injury claim. They can help determine who is at fault in an accident. To document the scene, injuries, damages, and people involved, take pictures immediately after the accident.

The photographs of the accident scene can visually capture important details such as car positions and weather conditions like rain or snow, indicating if the driver was driving too fast for the conditions. Ensure to take pictures of the accident scene, including nearby traffic lights and stop signs. Photographs can help show the setting of the accident and traffic conditions at the time, especially if it occurred at an intersection or parking lot.

It's crucial to capture photographic evidence of the damage incurred by your vehicle. Make sure to take multiple pictures from various angles, including both close-up and long-distance shots. Take photos of all the cars involved, as the damage sustained by each vehicle can assist in determining fault. For instance, if there is a dent on the rear of your car, it can serve as evidence that the other driver caused the damage by driving into the back of you.

Apart from video and photographic evidence, witnesses who were at the scene can provide crucial evidence. Ensure to gather the names, addresses, and phone numbers of any witnesses present. Even if the police are on the scene, having witness statements can make the claims process easier. Witnesses can provide car accident witness statements on what they saw, heard, and the scene before, during, and after the accident. They may include drivers or passengers from the involved vehicles, pedestrians, nearby business employees or patrons, or motorists who were not involved but stopped to help. The details shared by witnesses can help create a narrative of what happened, establish fault, and prove who was involved and how the accident occurred.

After a car accident, there are multiple ways to document witness statements. One way is to have the witnesses write out their statements, including as many details as possible about what they saw and heard, and then sign and date each page. Another option is to write out the statements for them and have them sign and date each page. Alternatively, you could ask the witnesses for permission to record their statements using the audio or video on your phone.

Obtain a Police Report Copy

When an accident occurs, drivers typically report the accident to the police, who are required to create an accident report. This report will usually include a diagram of the accident scene, showing the location of the vehicles and pedestrians involved. It will also include the officer's initial impressions of the cause of the accident, who are aware of the leading causes of car accidents in Bloomington. This report can be used as strong evidence in an insurance claim or personal injury case.

The report contains valuable information that can be used in your case, including the exact location, date and time of the accident, witness statements, insurance information, identification of passengers involved, damage to property, injuries sustained, weather and road conditions, citations given, and sometimes a diagram of the collision.

Provide a copy of the accident report or any other documentation created by the police to your attorney. If you do not have a copy of the report, your attorney will be able to obtain it on your behalf.

Medical Evidence Documentation

Medical records are crucial in a car or auto injury case, as they provide valuable evidence about the injury and its consequences. A personal injury lawyer seeking compensation on your behalf, either through a settlement or a lawsuit, needs the efficient assistance of a medical review company to properly comprehend the injury and its severity. Collecting evidence, including the claimant's medical records, is the first step in building a strong car accident case.

Medical Records Including Diagnoses

Medical records are an essential piece of evidence in personal injury cases. They provide a detailed account of the claimant's overall health, the injuries resulting from the car accident, the treatments received, and their outcomes.

Comprehensive medical records usually comprise the following: paramedic or ambulance records, emergency room records, admission records, medical history, physicians' notes, nursing documentation, recovery prognosis, diagnostic test results, prescription records, photographs of bruises/surgical scars, hospitalization records, surgical records (including anesthesiologist's reports), consultations, correspondence, and referrals, physical therapy records, records from follow-up appointments, rehabilitation therapy records, psychological treatment records, and independent medical evaluation or IME reports. These records play a role in establishing causation and determining the appropriate compensation for the claimant.

Health insurance companies may investigate the claimant's medical history to determine whether there are any pre-existing conditions that could have contributed to their current injury. Even if there are no visible external injuries, the insurance company may still deny the claim. For instance, this is especially true for injuries such as back, neck, knee, and shoulder pain, which could be caused by pre-existing conditions, aging, or degeneration.

Accurate medical records play a crucial role in determining whether the claimant's injuries are a direct result of the car accident. The physicians' statements and reports detailing the nature and extent of the injury will provide the necessary support for the claimant's argument.

A complete set of medical records can easily establish that your injuries are not linked to any pre-existing or underlying condition. The correct medical documentation should include the treating physicians' opinion that proves the injuries are fresh and occurred as a result of the car accident.

Any Treatment Plans

Medical records provide a clear timeline of the claimant's injury and its impact. Such information helps establish the severity of the injury and its future implications. The records may also include recommendations for future treatments, such as surgery and physical therapy, and project the potential outcome of such treatments. This allows you to establish the ongoing severity of your injuries, and estimate future healthcare expenses.

Medical Bills and Receipts

Medical documentation plays a crucial role in determining the value of a claim. In considering how to document your car accident injuries, it also helps to record the financial costs incurred by the claimant. These costs typically include expenses for ambulatory services, treatments, surgeries, prescription drugs, hospital visits, and rehabilitation. The attorney needs this information to quantify the damages incurred by the claimant and justify their settlement request.

About The Author

Photo of Todd A. Strong
Illinois workers’ compensation and personal injury lawyer Todd A. Strong is the founder of Strong Law Offices in Peoria, Illinois. Todd brings considerable legal knowledge, experience, and skill to the table to ensure injured victims throughout the state are treated with respect, dignity, and fairness.