In the days following a car accident, you should seek medical attention, collect pieces of documentation, keep a pain journal, and organize your evidence. These recommendations could help you recover compensation for your accident-related expenses.
In 2018, there were 319,146 motor vehicle accidents, according to the Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT). If you or a loved one were involved in an Illinois car accident, the following considerations could work to resolve your claim.
After a Car Accident, Get Medical Care
If you received medical treatment at the time of your accident, be sure that you follow your doctor’s orders and attend all follow-up appointments. In a personal injury claim, you must show evidence that you “mitigated your damages,” meaning that you took reasonable steps to keep your condition from getting worse.
After an accident, you may have several injuries that display no outward symptoms. One of those injuries is whiplash, a soft tissue injury that is caused by the swift back-and-forth motion of the neck upon impact, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Symptoms of whiplash include:
- Pain or stiffness in the neck
- Pain that gets worse with movement
- A diminished range of motion in the neck
- Tenderness, tingling, or pain in the upper extremities
If you notice any troubling symptoms or impairments after an accident, seek medical attention. Taking this step may help you establish the link between the accident and your injuries, as well as protect your health.
Request Your Accident-Related Records
A typical car accident claim may consist of many different types of records.
While your lawyer can gather these pieces of information for you, some records that could ultimately help your case include:
The Accident Report
The officer who responded to your accident may have given you instructions on how to get a copy of the accident report. If not, contact the law enforcement agency that responded to your accident and ask about requesting a copy. The accident report will contain many pieces of information that could help your case.
Your Medical Records
You may have medical records from several different health care providers, including your primary care physician, the doctor who treated you at the hospital, and your mental health counselor. Ask each provider to give you copies of your medical records, but do not sign a blanket authorization that gives the insurance company access to all your medical records. This would allow the insurance company to view your full medical history and give them information that could deny your claim.
Your Employment Records
You may have missed time from work while you were recovering from your injuries. Ask your employer’s payroll department for documentation showing your regular rate of pay and the wages you lost after the accident.
Document Your Impairments in a Pain Journal
You may be able to receive compensation for your pain and suffering following your car accident. However, calculating the monetary value of pain and suffering can be difficult since it does not have an established amount. One way you can help substantiate this loss is by keeping a pain journal. You should write in it every day about your injuries and how you are feeling.
You may want to provide the following information in your entries:
- The dates of doctors’ appointments
- Treatment notes
- Medications you are prescribed and their side effects
- How your injuries have affected your daily life and relationships
- The level of pain you are experiencing on a scale of 1 to 10
You may be able to record pieces of information not mentioned here.
You Should Keep Your Evidence Organized
The more information you provide, the more your lawyer has to work with when building your case.
You should keep the following pieces of information organized and in a safe place:
- Your medical records. Your medical records may consist of your health care expenses, surgical procedures, follow-up treatment notes, lab test results, and prognosis.
- Your employment records. You should include the paystubs you received before and after your accident. This will give your lawyer insight into whether your earning potential was harmed.
- Journal entries. You should keep your journal entries in a safe place as well.
- Property damage costs. You should keep your property damage estimates along with your other pieces of evidence. You may also want to keep your vehicle’s Kelley Blue Book listing. Also, include printouts detailing the work done to your vehicle.
- Correspondence. You should print out all emails that you receive from the other parties, including correspondence from the other driver, their legal counsel, and the liable insurance company.
- Photos. Keep the photos you took of the accident scene, your injuries, and your property’s damage.
You may be able to find other pieces of evidence not included here.
Get in Touch with the Kryder Law Group, LLC
So, now that you understand what to do in the days following a car accident, you should consider working with a personal injury lawyer. The Kryder Law Group, LLC can manage all of the obligations involved with your case. We offer a free consultation where you can learn more about your claim’s potential.
Call us today at (312) 223-1700 to begin a free case review.