When you get into a car accident, time is often of the essence. The sooner you contact an attorney and get the ball rolling, the sooner you'll be able to recoup damages related to your crash. However, you don't want to call an attorney before you're prepared with the right information in front of you, or else you might end up wasting your own time and that of the lawyer. Here's what you really should have on hand before calling.
1. The other driver's information.
Sometimes the other driver will have given you their information directly—other times, they might not. You may have to wait for the police to release their report before you're able to get this information. It's not worth calling an attorney until you have the other driver's name, insurance information, and address. If the police have not called you with a copy of the report yet, call and ask for one. Most police stations release the report 24–48 hours after the crash so you should not have to wait too long.
2. Medical records.
Ask everyone who treats you or provides any sort of medical care for records. Then, you can give these directly to your attorney during your first call or meeting. Chances are, you are going to have more medical costs in the coming weeks, but these initial records do something very important. They establish a timeline related to the accident and your injuries so that the other party can't argue your injuries are due to something other than the crash.
3. Any photos.
If you were unable to get photos of the accident scene because you were badly injured, that's understandable. But if photos were taken, make sure you have them printed or accessible in a file that the lawyer can access. This will help you in describing exactly what happened and help show the lawyer what they may have to prove to the insurance companies going forward.
4. Your insurance information.
In many cases, car accident victims end up suing their own car insurance company for damages. This is especially likely to be the route you take if the other driver was uninsured or under-insured. Your lawyer will want to contact your insurer and attempt to negotiate before moving forward with a real case, so make sure you have your insurance company's name, contact info, and policy number on hand.
If you've recently experienced a car accident, contact local auto accident attorneys to see your case through.