You had the misfortune of being in a car accident. The good news is that it wasn’t your fault; the bad news is that there was significant damage done—to your vehicle, your physical well-being and your professional life.
The damage was substantial enough that you felt filing a personal injury lawsuit in civil court was the best means to get fair compensation. Your court date has arrived and you want to make sure all your ducks are in a row.
Here’s the personal injury case checklist you’ll want to review with your attorney before the trial begins.
Proof of financial harm
To collect damages, you need to demonstrate the extent of your financial losses. You could win your case, but without proof of the damage suffered, it will be an empty win. So there’s several key items that will need to be introduced as evidence.
Your financial suffering likely comes from 3 places—the medical expenses, the car repair expenses and the time lost at work. Bring copies of all your medical bills. It’s also important that you receive a price estimate from a mechanic on the cost of repairing your vehicle from a garage that was approved by your insurance company. That cost estimate is more evidence. Finally, your pay stubs are proof of what you earn on a biweekly basis.
The documentation may have to be supported by witness testimony. For example, a medical expert may need to verify that all treatments done were required by your injuries. Or if your car was totaled and you need a new one, your employer may need to testify that you work in sales and can’t afford to drive a beater car to meet with prospects.
Proof of what happened
The medical records from the facility that treated you provide further evidence on your behalf. You can also bring forth police reports of the accident. It’s quite likely you won’t remember everything with the precision a court might like, especially if you were seriously injured. But the police report will have a good record of what took place and what eyewitnesses said in the immediate aftermath of the accident.
Photos are also a key piece of evidence. The police report will include these, but we hope that you—or someone you were with—were able to take cellphone pictures of the accident scene. These can further corroborate your recollection of what happened.
The eyewitnesses in the police report or those you may have talked with at the time of the accident can be called forth to give evidence on your behalf.
You may also need expert witnesses. If the defense challenges your version of who was at fault, you may need an objective witness that can analyze speed and angles on a car accident.
Winning a personal injury lawsuit is a stressful process that culminates a less than ideal period in anyone’s life, but that doesn’t mean it has to be complicated. Have your proof of damages, proof of what transpired and your witnesses in order to at least keep the process simple.