All injuries cause some inconvenience for the sufferer and the most substantial afflictions can concurrently cause a loss of income due to the time off from work that is crucial for symptom alleviation and/or recovery. Significant health care costs can also be incurred by injured parties who are forced to go private instead of joining long waiting lists for treatment via the National Health Service (NHS).
When injuries have been incurred as a result of an accident which was someone else’s fault, it is highly probably that you would want to file a personal injury compensation claim so that you receive suitable recompense for these costs and the pain suffered. But how can one be sure that they have a solid case for compensation? It’s all about the proof that an applicant has to support their claim. The most successful claimants usually have the following information at their disposable…
The Evidence Checklist:
Details of all others involved in the incident:
If you are looking to claim for an injury resulting from a road traffic accident then it should be obvious that you will require the registration numbers of any vehicles involved, as well as details for the insurance companies protecting the drivers of said vehicles. If you are alternatively looking to claim for an accident at work then you will require a copy of your contract and the details of the insurance policy protecting the company’s employees (which may or may not be mentioned in said contract).
For incidents which occur elsewhere, the person or body at fault might not be immediately obvious. Talking with an experienced accident compensation solicitor can help you to determine this.
Medical evidence from involved health practitioners:
It is quite likely that your personal injury lawyer will send you for a physical assessment of your injury with one of their own certified practitioners but if you have visited any doctors or specialists before this time for an assessment of the damage done, you will need a copy of your medical records (which are considered to be a legal document) for later reference.
Details of any medications prescribed to you for your injury/injuries also need to be safely filed away. The prescription receipt will suffice but this information should also be found in your medical records. Name and address of examining doctors/specialists should also be noted.
Receipts must be present for all of the costs that the claimant wish to be compensated for no one is going to believe that the repairs of your smashed up motor cost £8,000 unless you have proof to back this up! The money that you assert you have spent on medical costs, medication or anything else you have been forced to buy as a result of your injury must also be backed up with the appropriate receipts.
If the word of a claimant alone was enough for a court to decide that compensation should be awarded then it is certain that more people would be engaging in the compensation culture that we have heard so much about in the tabloids. Witness statements help to established that the circumstances of a claim actually add up and thus; this aids to prevent phoney claims slipping through the compensation net.
The addresses and contact details of those providing witness statements for your case should also be collected.
This is not always possible since taking photographs is probably the last thing on your mind when an accident occurs (and there is the possibility that you might not even be conscious at this point!) An increasing number of those involved in lesser incidents however are choosing to take photos on mobile phones in order to later prove that someone else is to blame for the incident (and therefore the injuries sustained).
Visual evidence can help to sway a jury when there is a lack of eyewitnesses to help establish how the events leading to an incident panned out.
Other Necessary Evidence That Claimants Often Forget:
The following list summarises other pieces of vital information/documents that claimants can often forget to pass on to their solicitors (though it should be noted that not all will be applicable to your own injury compensation claim):
- Name and addresses of any ambulance service involved and/or emergency room that you were taken too;
- Police Accident Report document;
- A record of the dates you were absent from work due to your injury/injuries;
- The contact details for any insurance companies you have talked to since the date of the accident;
- Documents related to any medical/disability/veterans policy or coverage that were in implementation at the time of the incident;
- Documents for your own car insurance policy if you are claiming for an injury resulting from a road traffic accident. Information regarding the extent of the coverage purchased should be detailed (this usually takes the form of a coverage certificate) and
- The contract proving that you own the property in which you live or the contract for your rented accommodation, as well as photocopies of all major forms of identification. Both help to prove that you are the person you are claiming to be.
Whilst it is possible to be successful in your claim for compensation whilst lacking certain pieces of evidence from either list above, it is important to keep in mind that the more evidence provided to your solicitor; the higher the likelihood that your claim will be a successful one.
The best advice is to begin collecting your evidence early on after the accident if you are considering making a claim. Acquiring certain documents will become more difficult as more time passes.
The author of this guest post Katherine Cole knows a thing or two about accident claims because she has two children studying to become injury lawyers.