Statistically speaking, the average driver in Chicago, and the U.S., will have three to four accidents in their driving lifetime. A majority of these accidents will amount to nothing serious, but it won’t make dealing with them any more pleasant. When injuries are involved, however, matters become far more complicated. Car accidents are a major source of injuries in the U.S., with thousands of people sustaining everything from minor bruises to fatal injuries. In 2013, Illinois had a total of 285,477 vehicle accidents that resulted in 85,031 injuries.
When anyone, driver or passenger, is injured in a car accident that was not their fault, they are legally entitled to compensation. What compensation you receive, however, is dependent on the extent of your injuries and the ability to provide proof of those injuries to the insurance companies.
What Evidence Can Serve as Proof of Injuries
Car accident injuries range from minor to severe and the settlement amount awarded the victim relies on being able to provide evidence of the extent of the injuries. If you have been injured in an accident, collecting proof begins at the scene of the accident and continues with any medical treatments.
In Chicago, any of the following could serve as proof of injuries in a car accident claim:
- Accident photographs and videos – Documenting the scene of the accident is important for many reasons, not the least, proving injuries. Take photos or have someone else take photos of any injuries as soon as possible after the accident. Videos can be equally useful for demonstrating injuries.
- Police report – When accidents involve injuries, the local law enforcement must be notified. The officer at the scene will write up a report. Check the report to make sure any details regarding injuries are accident and request a copy of the report before the officer leaves the scene.
- Statements from drivers and passengers – After an accident drivers and passengers should give statements to the law enforcement officer for the police report. Mention of injuries or damage should be included in these statements.
- Witness statements – As third party accounts, witness statements can serve as powerful evidence in your claim, including any injuries.
- Records of property damage – The more serious the car accident, the more likely injuries were involved. Providing proof of significant damage to the vehicle can be presented to support injury claims.
- Records of medical treatment and bills – Heavy emphasis is placed on medical records and bills when proving injuries. After an accident, you should keep track of all incidents of medical treatment, requesting copies of all records including any MRIs or X-ray imaging.
- Physician testimony – A statement from a physician attesting to your injuries can also be used as evidence in a car accident claim.
Typically, attorneys and insurance adjusters will work to reach a settlement without going to court. A case may be taken to trial if either party is not able to come to an agreement regarding the settlement. If this is the case, police reports are usually not allowed as evidence.