When a personal injury attorney tackles a case, documenting the nature of the injuries and how the incident happened is one of the earliest things you can do to help them. Documentation can sound like a somewhat vague word, but it means a handful of very specific things to a personal injury lawyer. Here is a look at the sort of documentation an injury attorney wants to see before going forward with a claim.
If at all possible, try to collect, hold onto, and make copies of all the paperwork you get when you deal with first responders, the emergency room, specialists, and other medical professionals. While it's certainly possible to obtain copies of these documents from medical organizations, they have the right to bill you for providing reports after the fact. In fact, these costs can be attached to a medical lien against any settlement or judgment you might arrive at. Try to get as much of the paperwork that they give you when you're discharged from the hospital or when you leave appointments.
The cops, thankfully, are a little nicer about providing their reports, although this step presumes the police were called at all. If they were called, try to at least get the names of all the responding officers and the stations where they're operating from. This will give your injury lawyer something to work with when they call the desk at the station.
Police reports are handy for a couple of reasons. First, the cops generally write detailed reports of incidents that they respond to. Second, the authority of a police officer is largely accepted without question by claims adjusters, judges, and juries. If a cop says it happened, the assumption is that it happened.
Cameras are everywhere these days, and a personal injury attorney will think about obtaining video from a wide range of sources. Potential sources may include cellphones from witnesses, body cams from police officers, traffic cameras, and even surveillance from an ATM across. Although video always requires context, it can add to a narrative once it has been properly introduced to a claim or a lawsuit.
Documenting how you feel each day is critical to asserting claims of pain, suffering, and emotional trauma. An injury attorney will often have a client keep a daily journal where they note their pain levels and the times they experienced pain.