in Making Your Claim
- Preservation of evidence
- Accident/incident reports
- Medical information
- Employment information
- Recorded statement
Preservation of evidence
After an accident the very first and most important requirement
(from the point of view of making a claim) is usually to
preserve whatever evidence is available regarding the accident.
This usually involves keeping, saving, storing and preserving
whatever evidence it is possible to keep, save, store and preserve
and photographing or videotaping all evidence that may for
some reason be perishable or subject to change. It also
involves locating and interviewing witnesses to the accident
and others who may be familiar with the conditions which
gave rise to the accident.
All products- such as appliances, furniture, containers, medications,
food, etc.- involved in the accident should be saved. Specific
examination and testing is often required. The vehicles
involved in a severe collision should be saved for inspection
by experts. The cause of a motor vehicle accident can often
be determined by an expert's inspection of the vehicles
involved. A dangerous condition which gives rise to the
accident should be photographed and/or videotaped as soon
as possible. Otherwise it may change or be changed before
the necessary evidence to pursue the claim has been gathered.
Interviews should be conducted promptly- before memories
fade or subsequent events corrupt the memory's recall. Identifying
and locating witnesses and obtaining accurate recall of
the events surrounding the accident becomes progressively
more difficult with each day that elapses after an accident.
Delay may prove to be very costly. So please don't delay.
Proper preservation and documentation of the evidence related to
your claims may require experienced investigators and even
the involvement of trained scientists and engineers. These
expenses can be fairly steep. They are particularly steep
for a family already dealing with the financial burdens
of an accident.
If you retain this office on your case, we will be happy to
assist you in keeping, saving, storing and preserving evidence
and in photographing and/or video-taping and otherwise documenting
facts and circumstances related to your claims. These costs
will be advanced by us for your case.
After an accident it is important to begin to record all information
relevant to that accident. In a car accident, drivers exchange
names, addresses, phone numbers and insurance information.
If the police are called, a lot of additional information
is usually recorded in the police report. In a slip and
fall accident, the injured person- or his representative-
should file an incident report as soon as possible with
the owner of the premises where the accident occurred. This
report should indicate the approximate location, the date
and the time of the injury and a very brief statement (one
sentence) of what happened. Similar incident reports can
be generated for dangerous product claims, maritime claims,
and other claims. The existence of an incident report can
be helpful in answering an insurer's first concerns regarding
an accident- did this accident really happen and was my
As soon as reasonably possible after an accident, an injured
person should seek qualified medical attention. Although
medical care is pretty expensive, the absence of medical
care- especially for an extended period of time- may be
even more expensive to an injured person. Such delay may
significantly damage the valuation of a personal injury
claim. It creates uncertainty in the insurer's assessment
of the injuries- were they truly a result of this accident?
It may also create doubt in the minds of jurors- if the
injuries were serious enough for a lawsuit, why wasn't a
doctor consulted? See a qualified doctor for your treatment
and someone that you trust. Be aware that there are some
doctors who bias their opinions in favor of insurance companies.
You will want to avoid having such a doctor as your treating
In order to make a lost earnings claim, you will need to have
one or more off-work slips (with specific dates indicated)
and proof of the earnings lost during that period. The earnings
lost can be proven by payroll records, a letter from the
employer or other appropriate documentation. For accidents
in Hawaii, a wage loss claim is sometimes available under
TDI, worker's compensation or occassionally as part of the
no fault coverages in a car accident.
Most insurance adjusters will want to take a recorded statement
from a claimant before completing evaluation of a claim.
This statement may be used later to attempt to attack a
claimant's credibility. Giving such a statement without
the advice and assistance of an attorney carries significant
risk. Most claimants are well advised to obtain the services
of a competent and experienced personal injury attorney
to protect their legal rights before proceeding with such
In short, there are many steps to be taken to establish a personal
injury claim once an accident has occurred which may give
rise to a claim. Evidence must be preserved, photographs and videotapes
must be taken and witnesses must be located and interviewed.
Other basic investigation must be undertaken and information
must be gathered. Within a short period of time, much evidence
(and perhaps evidence crucial to the case) will be lost.
To obtain a satisfactory resolution of the case later, the
proper groundwork must be laid at the earliest possible
Contact us now
for a free evaluation of your case.