After a car accident, even a minor fender bender, it can seem like there is a mountain of paperwork to get through. It can be tempting to toss all that paperwork and put the whole ordeal behind you. If thinking of contacting a lawyer—-or if there is a slim possibility you might contact a lawyer about the car accident—resist the urge to get rid of all the bills and reports. Keep a file of all documentation, which can be invaluable from the first meeting with your lawyer until the case is settled.
If the police were called to the scene of the accident (which should be done as an essential step after a car accident), a police report is usually filed. The police report is filled with important information, such as a diagram of the accident and facts related to each driver.
All medical bills should be kept from applicable agencies, including the ambulance, chiropractor, emergency room (if applicable), doctor visits, specialist, psychiatrist (if needed) and any other invoices related to the driver’s well-being after the accident. Many injuries do not become obvious for several days after the accident; a visit to a general practitioner should be made shortly after the accident to document and treat any accident-related issues.
After an accident, a driver should not move vehicles until the police arrive (or if the situation is not safe). If well enough to move, take the opportunity to take pictures of the accident scene, vehicle damage, and physical injuries. The insurance company may also take photos of the damage and may provide additional photos upon request.
Typically, there are two or more additional insurance companies involved in an accident; each insurance company usually takes statements from each driver involved. A lawyer may advise that no statement be given (consult the lawyer before giving a statement to any party), but will need all statements collected by the companies involved.
Traffic tickets are not issues in every car accident, but any tickets issued are legally relevant and necessary. Be honest and forthcoming in all communications with the lawyer; once retained, all conversations are confidential. These guidelines, and the documentation, are essential for future legal proceedings.