Document your injuries after a car accident

Insurance adjusters have exactly one job: minimizing the losses to their company on personal injury claims.

If you’ve been in a car accident, you can’t expect the other driver’s insurance company to pay you a dime more than they have to pay — and what they have to pay is based largely on what you can prove. To maximize your potential recovery, document everything you can about your injuries and damages.

How do you do that? Follow this guide:

Write everything down

Memories fade rather quickly — especially when there’s trauma involved. You’ll be surprised how quickly small details from the accident may fade in your mind.

Get a notebook or open a file on your computer and start keeping a daily diary after the accident. Mark down doctor visits, physical therapy visits and notes about your condition in general. Document your pain and any limitations you have. You can use this later to support your claim for compensation. If your case ends up in litigation, you can also use it to refresh your memory before a deposition or trial.

Take lots of photos

You probably know that you should take photos of the accident scene and your car — but do you know that you should also photograph your injuries? Bruises may not seem like much, but they can create a create a pretty clear understanding in a jury’s mind of how badly you were hurt if your case goes to litigation. Good photos of your developing bruises, especially after they fully blossom, can often convince a reluctant insurance adjuster to pay up.

Gather your paperwork

Compensation is heavily tied to your financial losses, so receipts for medical care are important. However, don’t overlook your other financial losses. Did your injuries prevent you from working for a while? If so, include documentation of your sick leave. Were you unable to take care of your housework or yard for a while? If you hired someone to handle those tasks while you recovered, include those receipts as well.

Personal injury claims can be complicated to pursue, but good documentation makes negotiations with the insurance company much easier to handle — whether you do them yourself or ultimately entrust an attorney with the task.