Submitting a car accident claim can be a very fact-orientated process. Because the insurance adjuster you will be submitting the claim to was not present at the time you were injured in a car accident, he or she will need all of the documents possible in order to evaluate your claim. Some of our car accident demand letters have been more than a thousand pages long, mainly due to the extensive medical records our client accumulated. Other times, insurance companies have done their due diligence into investigating the accident, so documentation is minimal. But one thing you need to keep in mind is that your attorney will need to examine all relevant documents to assess your case and determine how much compensation you are entitled to.
When it comes time to settle your claim, you have likely finished treating for your car accident injuries, or are close to it. A demand package outlining your car accident claim will need to be put together to send to the insurance company. The insurance company will need to know the circumstances surrounding your car accident, injury, and medical treatment. This can get lengthy depending on where you sought treatment. Medical records and bills are also expensive to obtain.
Here is a list of some of the most important documents you will need to submit your car accident injury claim:
1. Police Report
If emergency responders came to the scene of your car accident there will surely be a police report, or accident report, available within a few days. Police reports have crucial information surrounding your car accident claim, including: date, time and location of the accident, witness statements provided to emergency responders, and a diagram of the accident. Another piece of information, and maybe the most important, is the responsible driver’s insurance information. It can be difficult to track down the correct insurance provider if you do not possess documentation with this information provided. Most police reports we gather in our office have the responsible party’s information, which is very helpful when it comes time to making your car accident injury claim.
2. Witness Statements
As mentioned above, witness statements are often provided in the police, or accident, report. But they can also be taken by insurance companies and witnesses to the accident themselves. Sometimes our clients will have recorded statements on their cell phones that were obtained at the scene of the accident. Any witness statements, no matter where provided, are very helpful in determining who was at fault for the car accident.
Photographs help develop of visual understanding of the damage the car accident caused. They can be taken by the people involved in the car accident, emergency responders, tow truck drivers, insurance companies, or the body shop where the car was repaired. Many times, we are left with narratives and statements about the accident, and are without pictures that can show us the scene immediately after the car accident occurred. It is important to have photographs of the damage to the vehicles, your injuries, and the entire scene of the accident. Visuals always help not only your attorney understand the facts surrounding the accident, but they will help the insurance adjuster evaluate your claim.
4. Tickets Related to the Car Accident
Insurance companies will always want to argue, or downplay, the facts surrounding your car accident. If the responsible party was given a citation for their involvement in the car accident, this will help show the insurance company that there should be no dispute in regards to who was at fault. You or your attorney will be able to find whether or not the responsible party was given a citation by looking through the police report or checking with the local law enforcement office.
5. Medical Records
We always preach that the more detailed your medical records are the better it is for your car accident injury claim. Your medical records should indicate that you suffered harm as a direct cause of being involved in the car accident. They should also show that you continually sought treatment for your car accident injuries. Medical records can be lengthy, especially if you sought treatment for a long time and/or went to numerous medical providers for treatment. They are also expensive to retrieve. However, medical records are a necessity when it comes time to submitting your car accident claim because the responsible insurance company will want to see all of the medical treatment you sought in order to evaluate your car accident claim.
6. Medical Bills
Medical bills show how much your injuries, pain and suffering cost you. If you sought medical treatment after a car accident, keep track of a list of providers you saw. You should also keep track of as many receipts or bills you accumulate throughout your treatment. Medical bills help show the responsible party’s insurance company how much compensation you deserve for your car accident injuries.
7. Work Schedule For Time Missed
If you had to take time away from work due to your car accident, document the days you missed and how much money you lost out on. You can recoup these damages when settling your car accident injury claim. The responsible party’s insurance company will want proof that you had to miss work. The best thing you can do is is have your work supervisor outline the days missed and give an estimate of how much it cost you.
8. Car Insurance Policy
Your attorney will especially want to review your car insurance policy if you have to make an uninsured or underinsured motorist claim with your own insurance. Your policy will show how much coverage you have if you make a claim. Your policy will also show any exclusions (and their will be a lot!). Our clients have been in the circumstance where the responsible party did not have insurance, or did not have enough insurance to cover their injuries, but we were able to successfully recover the appropriate amount of compensation through their own insurance.
9. Health Insurance Card
Your health insurance has likely been paying for your medical bills related to your car accident injuries. Your attorney will need your health insurance card to collect information about your plan in order to discuss your medical bills with your insurance company.
10. Medicare/Medicaid Card
If Medicare and/or Medicaid has been paying your medical bills for your car accident injuries, they will almost certainly have a lien on any settlement you obtain. The process of determining whether or not they have a lien, and for how much, is a tedious and time-consuming process. Our attorneys have been able to successfully negotiate our clients’ Medicare and Medicaid liens down in order for our clients to receive the maximum compensation available for their car accident injury. During our initial consultation, we will ask to make a copy of your Medicare or Medicaid card so we have the relevant information necessary to negotiate your liens.
The car accident attorneys at our office will gather all of the necessary records so you don’t have to. We want the burden lifted off of your shoulders and placed on to ours. Call us now for a free consultation at (816) 200-2900.
Robert Kinsman is a personal injury, mass tort, business litigation, and employment discrimination attorney who practices in Kansas City, Missouri. He graduated from the University of Missouri Kansas City School of Law and has been practicing law for several years now. Robert Kinsman is passionate about normalizing the life of his clients after they have been seriously injured. Learn more about his experience here.