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What should I collect after an auto accident in Chicago?

When you’ve been in an accident, you might have trouble even fathoming what you need to do next. In these moments, there are crucial pieces of evidence that can be used to help you seek a strong car accident injury claim against all negligent parties.

Even if you think you may be at fault or think you may not be hurt, it is in your best interest to gather all available evidence. Your understanding of your health situation and the accident’s underlying cause could evolve over time, so being prepared is essential to building a strong claim. Further, failing to gather some forms of evidence can mean that they are likely gone forever.

For specific advice pertaining to your injury-causing accident, speak to a Langdon & Emison car accident lawyer in Chicago.

To help you prepare for a car accident injury case, make sure to collect the following items in the aftermath of your crash.

A Police Report

A police report is one of the most essential documents available in a car accident case. Without an official police record of the crash, many official parties can question its very existence. Insurance companies in particular are not prone to paying out on claims for a crash without a police report on file.

Ideally, a police report will be gathered at the accident scene immediately after the crash has occurred. Dial 911 as soon as you can after a crash.

If you did not report the crash on the day it occurred, you have up to 10 days to file a crash report online. A crash report not captured at the accident scene may lack crucial details, but it still provides an official record of an accident.

The Other Driver’s Contact and Insurance Information

You must be able to identify the driver or drivers involved in the crash. For this reason, always take a photo or write down the full name, contact information, daytime phone number, and insurance policy number of anyone involved in the accident.

Accident Scene Evidence

Accident scene evidence will largely consist of photos. Also, pieces of vehicle debris can sometimes be instrumental in proving damage took place or presenting circumstances involved in the collision.

The best photos to take at the scene of a car wreck include:

  • The wreckage before the vehicles were moved, both from far away and close-up

  • Close-up photos of vehicle damage

  • Close-up photos of your injuries

  • Tire tracks or markers revealing the trajectory of the collision

  • Nearby traffic signals and landmarks

  • Other essential details, such as if the other driver had an open container of alcohol within reach

Witness Contact Information

Witnesses can be essential in corroborating your account of the collision and revealing key details. Record witness statements at the time of the crash, and obtain the witnesses’ contact information if you need follow-up information. In the most extreme cases, you may subpoena witnesses in relation to a civil personal injury trial.

A Thorough Medical Diagnosis

Always obtain a medical diagnosis as soon as possible after your accident. If you are severely injured, request medical transport and go to the nearest emergency services provider. If you have less-severe injuries or are not entirely sure if you are hurt, always seek a thorough diagnosis from your primary care physician or an urgent care clinic within the next few days.

Like a police report, a medical diagnosis and corresponding discharge papers can form the bedrock of a personal injury claim. A diagnosis establishes the exact nature of your injuries and getting it done promptly connects your injuries to the date of the accident.

All Medical Billing and Proof of Other Expenses

A successful personal injury claim allows you to recover damages caused by the accident, including your medical bills, lost wages, and vehicle repair costs.

Save all medical billing and discharge information after each one of your doctor’s visits. Retain receipts and other proof of payment for items related to your injury, such as expenses on co-pays, prescription drugs, over-the-counter medicines, medical devices, and even parking and transportation to your medical appointments.

Proof of Income Losses

One critical piece of evidence to collect is your own income information. A settlement can help recoup the money you have lost from missing work. This can include paid sick and personal leave. It also includes the total amount of your income, not just wages/salary, so if you regularly obtain commissions, performance bonuses, and other forms of incentive-based pay, these can be averaged into your typical weekly wage amount.

Proving lost wages involves demonstrating the difference in income before and after the crash. Your income statements can come from pay stubs, paid invoices, or account transfer data. These are compared to your income since the crash, which may consist of lower payment information or simply bank statements indicating a total lack of income for the period.

A Chicago car accident attorney can help document your loss in average wage compensation. This allows you to seek repayment for lost wages even if you have an irregular schedule, work as an independent contractor, or otherwise have a complicated income situation.

Camera Footage and Other Evidence

Surveillance footage can provide an instrumental link in establishing the chain of events leading to the crash. Footage can come from dashcams, nearby businesses, public surveillance systems, private property, or even devices like Ring door cameras. Surveillance footage can be deleted in as little as 24 hours, so time is of the essence when obtaining this evidence.

Other evidence can include physical items found at the scene, records of tire marks, vehicle service records, employee documentation if the driver was on the job, and other items directly related to proving negligence.

Crash Reconstruction Investigation Results

If you have a severe crash that resulted in a death or serious injury, a special crash reconstruction team may be called to conduct an investigation. These investigations yield a thorough analysis of the accident scene in combination with telemetric simulations and lab evidence. The goal is to identify the cause of the crash and its major events as objectively as possible.

Such an investigation can take several months, but once it is completed, its results can provide major evidence for those seeking an injury claim.

Gather the Evidence You Need With the Help of a Chicago Car Accident Lawyer

Langdon & Emison has over 30 years of experience representing injured clients like you in Will County, Kane County, Cook County, DuPage County, Lake County, and other areas near Chicago. We place the entire weight of our available resources behind your case, vigorously investigating it, documenting your losses, and researching trial results for cases similar to your own.

Learn what you need to do to give your injury claim the highest possible chances of success during a no-obligation case review. Call us at 312-855-0700 or contact us online to schedule your free appointment now.