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Personal Injury Checklist Part 1
Automobile Accident/Motorcycle/Pedestrian Accident Checklist
How to Protect Yourself if You Are Injured:
Physical evidence and the recollections of witnesses and involved parties are crucial for establishing the liability of the negligent parties and for proving the nature, extent, and causation of injuries.
In resolving personal injury cases in Missouri, those claims in which this critical evidence has been preserved are almost invariably easier to settle and to settle at fair value. If the claim proceeds to trial, this evidence becomes even more critical, for it is the basis of proof of liability and damages.
Once an experienced attorney at BWO takes on a personal injury claim, the attorney will promptly collect all evidence relevant to the lawsuit. The earlier these steps are taken, the better the chances of a desirable outcome. And if you, the injured person, or a loved one has already begun to put this information together, you will have an even earlier jump on the process.
Since the nature of many pieces of evidence may not be immediately apparent to the non-attorney (and since even an experienced attorney will use checklists to avoid forgetting essential items), the attorneys at Buchanan, Williams & O’Brien have assembled checklists to help you protect yourself from having crucial evidence lost or destroyed. Since every case is unique, these lists can’t include every type of evidence possible.
Rather, these are intended to describe the most common evidence needed to successfully resolve your personal injury claim. By collecting as much of this evidence early on, you and your attorney at JoplinLawyers.com may retain a significant head start on resolving your claim promptly and at full value.
Personal Injury Checklist Part 2
Slip and Fall Accident Checklist
Part two of the Personal Injury Checklist is dedicated to Slip and Fall Accidents. These common personal and workplace accidents can result in severe injury. To maximize your chance of recovery, you should immediately contact a professional personal injury attorney and work together to gather substantial evidence and information to support your case.
Once the shock and trauma of falling are over, leaving the scene as quickly as possible may not serve you very well. If you are fortunate not to need ambulance transportation from the location, many people believe that filling out an accident report is enough. However, reliance upon this type of limited information often allows crucial evidence to become lost forever.
Here are some tips that you can use to ensure that you have maximized your potential for recovery through evidence preservation.
Personal Injury Checklist Part 3
Burn Accident Checklist
Part 3 of the Personal Injury Checklist is dedicated to Burn Accidents. Accidental burns are a fairly common experience. Most people have touched a hot pan or a lit match and experienced the pain of burning skin.
Sometimes we burn ourselves, and unfortunately, sometimes, we are burned due to someone else’s fault. Crucial evidence that you could use to help yourself due to the nature of the incident (like burning wood, for example) disappears in a flash. Here are a few tips Joplin Lawyers have compiled to ensure that you have maximized your potential for recovery through evidence preservation.
Personal Injury Case Checklist Tools
Below are the tools you need to jump ahead of your claim:
Insurance and Driver’s License Information
- Insurance: Always request the insurance information of the other driver. Write down the information or take photographs of documents with a phone or camera.
- Other Driver’s License Information: Always request the other driver’s information. Again, write down the information or take photographs of the driver’s license with a phone or camera.
- Get Additional Information!: After the insurance and driver’s license information has been exchanged, many individuals misunderstand that evidence gathering and preservation from the accident has concluded. This, however, is not the case. Here are some tips that you can use to ensure that you have maximized your potential for recovery through evidence preservation.
License Plate Information
- Other Driver’s License Plate Number: Following an accident, the one thing you can do to protect yourself is to copy down the license plate number of the other vehicle involved. Sometimes the person driving the car does not own the car. You may think that you have protected yourself by obtaining the driver’s license information of the other driver, but this is often insufficient. By writing down both the driver’s information and the license plate of the vehicle, you have worked to protect yourself more thoroughly and ensure that you have obtained all the information you might need in the event of litigation.
Accident Report and Investigating Officer
- Police Report, Officer’s Name, and Badge Number: If a police officer has come to the accident scene, be sure to ask if a report of the accident will be prepared and where and when it will be available. Police reports can often provide additional evidence for personal injury cases that may not be available from other sources. If the officer does not intend to prepare a report, request the officer’s name and badge number for later contact.
- Your Vehicle: Take pictures of your vehicle as soon as possible. Take photos from all angles, not just the damaged portions.
- Other Vehicle: If possible, take pictures of the other vehicle(s) involved in the accident.
- Surrounding Area: Take pictures of the surrounding area to preserve its appearance during the accident. Take photos of the surrounding location and roadway for any physical damage, skid marks, or debris. If you were a pedestrian, take pictures of the crosswalk or where you crossed the street or standing, walking, or jogging during your accident.
- Injuries: If you or someone in your vehicle sustained a visible injury: i.e., bruise, cut, scrape, or stitches, take photographs of the injury to preserve the state of the injury at the time of the injury.
- More, Not Less: Feel free to take as many photographs of what you think may be necessary to the accident. Your attorney will decide what is and what is not essential.
- Potential Witnesses: Take any potential witness’s name, address, and telephone number and save this information somewhere where it will not be lost.
- Nearby Homes/Businesses: Return to the accident scene, and visit any nearby homes or businesses for any potential witness(es) to the accident.
- Revisit the Scene: Revisit the scene of the accident several times during the same time of day at which the accident took place. Some people may habitually visit, stop, or drive by the accident location as part of their daily routine. You may be able to find a witness.
- Let Attorney Follow Up: If you have obtained witness information, do not contact or speak to the witness(es) again. Do not try to solicit a written statement and/or drawing from the witness. Let your attorney contact any possible witness(es).
- Repair Estimate: After taking photographs of your damaged vehicle, take the car for a repair estimate as soon as possible. You are not obligated to use a repair facility that an insurance company has recommended. However, it is generally good practice to obtain estimates from recommended garages.
- Written Estimate: Obtain written and dated repair estimates from at least two repair facilities, at least one of which you selected without the insurance company’s suggestion.
Medical Treatment and Documentation
- Medical Records: Obtain a copy of all doctors’ reports, hospital notes, and other medical records related to the accident.
- Medical Bills: Keep track of all medical bills. This includes times your health insurance pays, as these can be used to determine the economic damage you suffered due to the accident.
- Medical Devices: In some cases, victims of an accident may require medical treatment and/or medical devices such as wheelchairs, walkers, braces, etc. Keep a record of all such items purchased or rented.
- Follow Up: Keep a record of all physician visits and treatments. This includes follow-up visits to the doctor, physical therapy, etc.
- Prescription Records: Keep an accurate record of all prescriptions related to the accident. This includes the name of the medications, the dosage, and the date of purchase.
- Mental Health: Keep track of any mental health issues that you may be dealing with as a result of the accident, such as depression, anxiety, trauma, or PTSD. This includes evidence such as doctor visits and therapy sessions.
Finding and Working with a Personal Injury Lawyer
Once you have collected all of the evidence necessary to make a personal injury claim, you must find an independent attorney who can help ensure that you are treated fairly and that any settlement you may receive is fair.
Personal injury attorneys specialize in helping victims of accidents who have suffered physical, emotional, or financial harm from the negligence of another. They are highly knowledgeable in personal injury law. They can provide advice on how to handle any future lost wages, wage statements, and lost income that may arise as a result of your injury.
To choose the right lawyer for your case, be sure to do your research. Ask friends or family if they have a personal injury lawyer that they recommend. Look at online reviews and ratings of local lawyers. Most importantly, speak with the lawyer and ensure you have a good rapport before signing any paperwork.
Our Joplin Lawyers provide free consultations for personal injury victims and are experienced in handling cases related to car accidents, medical malpractice, slip and fall injuries, product liability, and more. Contact us today for a free consultation to discuss your case and learn how we can help you with your claim.
Our number is 417-623-8220 or toll-free at (417) 695-4774. We have offices in Joplin, Springfield, and St. Louis, Missouri. Be sure to return for the other checklists regarding other personal injury claims to ensure you know how to handle any personal injury situation that might arise properly.
The trusted team of attorneys at Buchanan, Williams & O’Brien has been helping clients with personal injury claims in Missouri for over 40 years. Learn more about the team’s experience, case results, and how they can help you:
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