Auto Accident Checklist
1. Immediately after an accident, if you've been injured identify the witnesses so there will be someone to support your case if it goes to court. Write down their names and addresses and interview them on the spot. Ask them what they saw and make a note of the phrases they used like slammed into, plowed, speeding or ran the red light.
2. Immediately after the collision, see a doctor. If you are injured schedule an appointment with your doctor as soon as possible.
3. Photograph of your car. Take pictures of your car as soon as possible after the accident. When the insurance company asks for proof of damages, it's difficult to dispute a picture taken of your car at the collision scene or at your home immediately after the accident. Pictures of the damage will also help you tell your story. If possible take pictures of the other cars involved as well. These pictures will help you supply information about the severity of the impact associated with the collision.
4. Photograph of your injuries. Take pictures of your injuries before they heal. In many cases the seat belt strap will bruise a client across the shoulder and chest, but after several weeks those bruises heal. Months later when the insurance company argues that the auto accident was not significant, pictures of the bruises or other injuries will help solidify your personal injury claim.
1. Write down your observations. Keep notes about your injuries. In six or seven months you might forget how it hurt to get dressed or do your other daily activities. Write down your pain medications. Write down all your doctor appointments. These kinds of written documents can be very valuable when presenting your personal injury claim to the insurance company or to a judge or to a jury.
2. Keep a record of your expenses. All out of pocket expenses should be noted and a record and receipts should be kept to be supplied to the insurance company at settlement or at trial.
We hire a private investigator with each and every accident. We feel that the investigation of the accident at the scene, the damage of the car and all the factors that went into the accident need to be documented. An attorney cannot do this work at his desk. They need to hire, as we do, an investigator for each case so that the facts can be established and the police, if necessary, interviewed. Witnesses also need to be interviewed and sometimes and investigator can get more out of a witness than when an attorney tries to interview the witnesses.
When required, we also hire accident reconstruction experts. Accident reconstruction experts will try to determine the most probable scenario that led to the accident. Operator or operational factors that are major causes of 90 percent of auto accidents. Information including statements, photos, skid marks, roadway factors, and laws of physics are used to analyze the dynamics of the collision. The most important evidence will be physical evidence in form of photos and measurements of the scene often taken by police investigators or our investigators at the scene in any sort of case. A diagram must be constructed showing the impact and rest positions. The types of evidence used by investigators are as follows:
Low grade factors refers to the road operating environment. An analysis of the roadway may include the roadside design, the frictional properties, construction materials, width, slope, elevation, curvature, maintenance, quality and traffic on the road. Documentation of the roadway environment is crucial in most collision reconstruction cases. Often the roadway itself is a contributing factor in the collision. Pavement and shoulder conditions also must be analyzed. The weather conditions also must be investigated and are usually included in a police report. If the accident happened at night, then lighting conditions is an important issue involving accidents. Driving histories also must be investigated in case the operator of the vehicles involved have a record and evidence of poor skill. Traffic signs and signals are relevant in any sort of intersection accident and whether or not views were obstructed during the accident. Accidents involving guardrails and utility poles obviously must be documented if we have those types of accidents. Pedestrian accidents usually involve skid marks and a measurement to determine the vehicle's speed. All of these things are necessary if an accident reconstruction expert is hired.
As trial attorneys who litigate matters involving serious injuries, we often seek the expert opinion of professionals to provide different aspects of the case. An engineer may be called to testify how the accident occurred. A physician may be asked to testify as to the extent of the injuries. A vocational expert is often retained as an expert to help prove the worth of the economic damages that a client suffers as a result of the accident.
Vocation experts are certified professionals who prepare evaluations to access the functional and economic impact of an accident. The vocational expert may look at the nature of the work you are doing, the length of time that you worked in the occupation and other human factor conditions. With this and other data, your vocational expert can calculate your reduced earning capacity, the cost of rehabilitation and training and the cost incurred due to your inability to complete other activities such as household work and childcare.
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Everett, WA 98201
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