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Important Documents That Support Your Injury Case – And How to Obtain Them

Important Documents That Support Your Injury Case – And How to Obtain Them

As experienced attorneys, we’re well-versed in the paperwork and bureaucracy that surrounds locating, gathering, and filing legal records. But we also understand that our clients aren’t always familiar with the many types of documentation that are key to supporting their personal injury claims. So, here’s a quick briefing on several types of documents you’ll most likely need, and how to assemble it all to help make your case. And don’t worry – you won’t have to do this all by yourself. We’ll be right by your side to help you locate every bit of personal injury documentation you may need throughout the legal process!

Police reports These law enforcement documents outline a variety of details surrounding car accidents, and often clearly indicate which party is at fault for a crash. They also contain information about traffic and weather conditions at the time of the incident, the names of individuals involved in the collision, and – very importantly – the name and badge number of the law enforcement officer who made the report, in the event their sworn testimony is needed in court. Clearly, obtaining a copy of the police report is one of the most vital things to do following any car accident where law enforcement officers were called to the scene.

Insurance documents You should always keep copies of both your health insurance and auto insurance policies as these documents are practically always needed in personal injury cases. When you purchase insurance and are saving these documents digitally or in paper form, make sure you have the entire policy including addendums and the declaration pages. The policy and addendums will outline the terms, conditions, exclusions, etc. of your deal with the insurance company, and the declaration pages will contain information about the amount of coverage you purchased, your deductible, and who is covered. If you do not retain these documents, we can get certified copies of them for you in discovery, However, getting insurance companies to produce these documents is often more time consuming and difficult than you might expect, and it could slow down your case.

Additionally, the main documents we will want to get from your insurance company during the course of your case are their claim files and their underwriting files. The claim file contains documentation, logs, correspondence, etc. on the specific accident for which you are submitting a claim. The underwriting file is more general than the claim file and will contain documentation of your entire relationship with your insurance company.

Car repair and body shop invoices, rental vehicle expense receipts You may receive one or more records detailing the costs of bringing your car back to its original condition after an accident. Often, technicians doing repair work will discover previously unseen damage and will have to revise their original cost estimate to reflect these new circumstances. If restoration work takes longer than the limited number of days your car insurance will cover a rental car, you might also have to pay for that extra cost. So be sure you get final invoices and/or receipts detailing all the expenses you’ve incurred once your car repairs are completed to your satisfaction. However, the cost of repairing your car is almost always not part of your personal injury lawsuit. If you purchased comprehensive coverage, then your insurance company should pay to repair or replace your car, and you can often get your deductible covered in a mini tort.

Photography, video, or audio recordings As the old saying goes, a picture paints a thousand words, and that can be especially true when it comes to video or audio evidence that needs to be introduced into court records. Files from traffic cams or security camera footage near the area of the accident, photos shot by witnesses or video taken by automobile dashcams, and even voicemail recordings left on your phone can all serve as evidentiary documents that can help demonstrate the severity of injuries, identify eyewitnesses, or prove how the defendant was behaving before, during, and after the accident. Don’t forget that photographs of the injuries you experienced can also be entered into evidence. You can use your own cell phone camera or ask a friend or relative to collect this visual evidence for you. Even recordings of 911 dispatch calls (which we can legally obtain), or records of phone calls you received from insurance company adjusters or your insurance agent, could also prove to be useful in legal negotiations. So be sure to back up any electronic files of this nature on the Cloud or with a personal flash drive to make certain they aren’t inadvertently lost or deleted.

Bills for transportation and lodging required for injury-related healthcare – If your injuries or vehicular damage prevent you from driving, you might find yourself having to pay big money for taxicabs or rideshare services like Uber or Lyft (or even specialized medical transportation vans if you are severely injured) to get to your doctor appointments or attend physical therapy sessions. Likewise, if you’re forced to seek advanced procedures at distant hospitals or other centers of medical excellence far from home, you could even end up having to pay for airfare and lodging costs out of your own pocket. Keep track of all those expenses! You wouldn’t have been required to spend that money if you hadn’t been hurt. The person responsible for your pain and suffering should have to foot the bills – not you.

W2 forms and paycheck stubs – If you’re out of work for extended periods of time due to your injuries, you shouldn’t have to absorb the impact of lost wages. These essential financial documents can be crucial in helping prove exactly how much money you’ve lost because someone’s irresponsible actions or negligence have caused you to miss work.

Witness statements – Anything witnesses have to say about what they personally observed when an accident happened can be pivotal in proving responsibility. When you’ve been hurt, though, one of the last things you’re probably thinking about is gathering statements from people who saw it happen – but rest assured that we will take on that task even if we have to subpoena reluctant onlookers to offer their statements in sworn depositions or in the courtroom!

Document, Document, Document!

While we’ve listed the most common types of documentation here, it can never hurt to have too much evidence. So save anything connected to your accident or your injuries that you think might be remotely useful. It’s always better to have too much information than too little. Let your attorney help you decide what – if anything – isn’t important. While many of the items we’ve discussed here will be available in electronic form, it’s always wise to obtain a paper copy of documents if you can. When the Internet is down, the power is out, or your computer fails to boot up, you’ll be grateful you had the foresight to print and safely store paper copies of your medical records, insurance forms, or other essential legal documents.

How Long Should You Keep All This Documentation?

Good question. Hold on to all relevant documents for a minimum of three years following your injury – which is the statute of limitations for filing a personal injury case against a negligent driver and/or owner in Michigan. For other important documents, such as those related to your state and federal income tax filings, you should maintain records for between three and seven years – sometimes even longer according to the Internal Revenue Service!) That makes investing in a durable fireproof storage box or file cabinet a worthwhile decision.

If all this sounds just a bit challenging, don’t fret. We can help you assemble everything you’ll need, assist with the logistics of documenting and understanding the extent of the financial losses your injuries have caused, and do the math required to put a solid number on the emotional and physical damages you’ve experienced. After all, we’ve been doing this for satisfied Michiganders for years – to the tune of almost $2 billion in settlements awarded to our clients. Check our ratings on Google, then give us a call at 855-MIKE-WINS (855-645-3946) or contact us online to get in touch with a dependable Mike Morse Law Firm attorney right away.

Important Documents That Support Your Injury Case – And How to Obtain Them

Content checked by Mike Morse, personal injury attorney with Mike Morse Injury Law Firm. Mike Morse is the founder of Mike Morse Law Firm, the largest personal injury law firm in Michigan. Since being founded in 1995, Mike Morse Law Firm has grown to 150 employees, served 25,000 clients, and collected more than $1 billion for victims of auto, truck and motorcycle accidents. The main office is in Southfield, MI but you can also find us in Detroit, Sterling Heights and many other locations.