Writing down what happened in an accident immediately after it occurs creates a more accurate record of the events than relying on memory alone. When you've had a car accident, taking down notes is probably the last thing you're thinking about; but it shouldn't be. Good notes can mean the difference between a speedy process to recovery and a painful, drawn out legal battle. Here are some tips about recording information on car accident injuries:
Write It Down As Soon As Possible
Your safety is paramount, so first make sure that you are in a safe situation. Once your safety is established, however, begin writing down everything you can about the accident. One strategy is to view the accident as a play-by-play story and recount each step along the way as if you were an observer or a sportscaster. Include fundamental information such as the time and date, as well as who was involved, who would have witnessed the accident and where the accident took place.
To be truly helpful, though, you'll need more than the basics, so be sure to focus on other details relevant to your accident. Examples of this include the weather conditions or any conversations that took place shortly before, during, or after the accident. If it’s safe and possible, taking photos of the accident and the surrounding scene can be extremely helpful in corroborating your story.
Detail Your Accident Injuries
If you were injured, write about the injury and include as many details as you can about the injury and how it’s affecting you. This isn't limited purely to physical injuries, and can include mild discomfort, anxiety, loss of sleep and depression. The sooner you record your car accident injuries, the more credible these records will be. Courts strongly favor records taken nearer in time to an accident, rather than those recorded significantly after the fact. Regardless, if a symptom takes time to develop, or you simply remember something after the fact, you should record that as well.
Write everything down, even seemingly minor things. For example, recording any "slight discomfort" in your neck can later be the basis for understanding the cause of chronic back pain that develops. Having this record could save you thousands of dollars in medical bills and insurance down the road. Finally, you should see a doctor as soon as possible. Not only can receiving immediate care prevent more significant injury, but the notes provided by the doctor become medical records which generally can serve as evidence in court or for insurance purposes.
Record Any Financial or Economic Losses
In addition to compensation for your accident injuries, you may be compensated for financial losses that result from the accident. Take notes on any financial losses that flow from the accident, such as reduced working hours, lost job opportunities, missed appointments or any other benefits that you would have enjoyed had the accident not occurred.
Keep Track of Conversations
Recording information about conversations you have concerning the accident is extremely important, as those records can prevent a dispute from sinking into a "he said she said" argument. The information you write down about conversations you have may or may not be admissible evidence, but it adds credibility to your side of the story and can be used for a host of other purposes. Be sure to record the date, time and people involved in the conversation as well as the subject matter of the conversation. Critical conversations to record include conversations with any witnesses, insurance representatives or medical providers.
Getting a Free Legal Evaluation
If you've been involved in a car accident, your first move should be to get a free consultation with an attorney. A lawyer will be able to tell you whether someone was negligent or reckless in causing harm to you, and whether you might be able to collect damages to cover your losses. Wondering if you have a case worth pursuing? Have the facts of your claim reviewed by a qualified attorney as soon as possible.
Contact a qualified auto accident attorney to make sure your rights are protected.