Personal Injury Checklists

When you’ve been injured due to another person’s negligence, you must know exactly how to protect yourself afterwards. The two most important things you need to have are physical evidence, and witness statements or statements from other involved parties. These two things are crucial to proving what injuries were sustained and to what degree, and what caused the injuries. When you have this information at hand, you are far more likely to settle for the full value owed to you for your damages, or receive these damages after a successful trial.

After hiring an attorney, they will have their staff collect all evidence that is relevant to your claim. The sooner this is set into motion, the more chance you have of a successful claim settlement. It helps even more if the injured party has already begun this process.

The following checklists will help you collect the most important evidence for each of the most common types of personal injury cases. Obtaining as much of this evidence as you can, as soon as you can after the incident, will give you and your attorney a running start on settling your claim quickly and for the most compensation.

Auto or Pedestrian Accident Checklist

You may think the evidence collecting is complete after all pertinent information has been exchanged between parties, but that’s not the case. The following outlines other information you must collect to maximize your potential for receiving the most compensation.

  • License plate information – Write down the license plate numbers of every other vehicle involved in the accident.
  • Owner information – Write down the owner of the other vehicles, if they differ from the driver of the vehicle.
  • Police report – Ask an officer at the scene when and where a police report will be available for pick up after the accident.
  • Photos – Take pictures of your entire vehicle (not only the parts that were damaged), as well as other vehicles involved in the accident, if possible. Also photograph the surrounding area, skid marks, road debris, and injuries of those in your vehicle, including yourself. More photos are better than not having enough.
  • Witness statements – Write down the name, address, and phone number of witnesses to the accident. Give this information to your attorney, but do not attempt to contact the witnesses on your own.
  • Estimates – As soon as you can after the accident, get at least two written and dated repair estimates. You do not have to use the repair facility recommended by the insurance company – you may choose your own.

Slip and Fall Accident Checklist

After a slip and fall, you may fill out an accident report and think that’s where it ends. But there are certain things you must do before you leave the scene, to collect the evidence you need.

  • Photos – Take photos of the place your fall occurred, especially the surface of the floor. The point is to remember the condition of the floor when you slipped. Take photos of your clothing and shoes, as well as any floor coverings such as rugs, mats, etc. If there are warning signs related to slipping, you’ll want photos of those too. Remember to take photos of your injuries.
  • Witness statements – Write down the name, address, and phone number of witnesses to the accident. Give this information to your attorney, but do not attempt to contact the witnesses on your own.
  • Physical, tangible evidence -Most importantly, save the shoes that you were wearing at the time you slipped and fell. Place them inside a plastic garbage bag and tape it shut so that any materials stuck to the shoes will remain. Do the same with your clothing, in a separate bag, without washing them first. If you have the item you slipped on, save that, as well, in a place where it will not be tarnished or damaged in any way. If the item you slipped on was organic, place it in a bag in the freezer to preserve the integrity.

Dog or Animal Bite Checklist

Any type of an animal attack is a frightening occurrence. If kids are involved, it’s even scarier. Of course, the first thing you should do is make sure the victim is okay hasn’t been infected with a disease by the animal, but there is more to the picture. Here are ways to prevent crucial evidence from being lost forever.

  • Get the name, address, and phone number of the owner of the animal that bit, if possible. If it is a dog, get the license identification. Call the police and ask that a report be filed regarding the incident. They may advise you to contact animal control to have a report filed.
  • Witness statements – Write down the name, address, and phone number of witnesses to the accident. Give this information to your attorney, but do not attempt to contact the witnesses on your own.
  • Photos – Take photos of the location, you and your clothing, and your injuries, no matter how minor. (For instance, a small cat scratch can turn into a major infection.) Take as many photographs as you feel are necessary. Your attorney will decide what constitutes the best evidence.

Burn Accident Checklist

If you have been physically burned due to another person’s negligence, there are ways to preserve evidence that will be essential in recovering damages.

  • Photos – Take pictures of the location as soon as possible after the injury to record exactly what the conditions were. Take photos of your clothing and shoes, and any signs warning of potential burn situations. Take pictures of your injuries immediately, no matter how minor they seem at the time. Take photographs of any warning signs that might be in the area of the location of the accident. Take as many photos as you feel are necessary, and let your attorney decide which are relevant evidence.
  • Witness statements – Write down the name, address, and phone number of witnesses to the accident. Give this information to your attorney, but do not attempt to contact the witnesses on your own.
  • Determine if an accident report, police report, or any other kind of a report has been filed regarding the incident. Get copies of that report.