Sacramento Personal Injury Checklist

If you’ve been the victim of an accident due to someone else’s negligence, you are aware of just what a mess your life can be afterward. But no matter what the circumstances, you must retain evidence of the accident and injuries to be able to recover damages either in a settlement with the insurance company or by opening up a court case.

Physical evidence and witness statements are the two most important things that you can obtain to show the circumstances surrounding the accident, and prove who was at fault. This evidence will be absolutely critical to you being able to receive the compensation you deserve for your injuries. If you can show solid evidence of fault, the insurance company is far more likely to settle with you for an amount that you deserve. If litigation does occur, evidence will be integral to the success of your case.

Your attorney will have their team retrieve all the evidence they can after you have hired them. But there is much more evidence that you can provide if you think quickly enough after the accident to preserve this evidence. If you don’t, this evidence may be lost forever, and your case will almost definitely not be as strong.

We’ve provided the following information in order to help you collect the proper evidence after your accident so that you have the strongest case possible. The sooner after your accident you can obtain this evidence, the better off you will be. When you hire a personal injury attorney to represent you, make sure you hand over all evidence to them so that they can fight for your right to get compensated adequately for the damages you’ve suffered.

Vehicle or Pedestrian Accidents

After your accident, you probably exchanged information such as insurance policies, driver’s license number, names, and addresses with the other drivers. But you’re not done yet! Here is the evidence that is needed to help strengthen your case.

  • Owner information - If the driver of a vehicle differs from the owner of the vehicle, record the owner’s name and address.
  • License plate information - Record the license plate number of any vehicle involved in the accident.
  • ​Photos - Take photographs of the damaged parts of your vehicle as well as the parts that are not damaged. You’ll want to have pictures of the entire vehicle. Also take pictures of the other vehicles involved. Get photos of the area surrounding the accident, including any road debris, skid marks, or road damage. Finally, photograph your injuries, and the injuries of those within your vehicle at the time of the accident. Your attorney will decide which photos to use, so take as many as you feel is necessary.
  • ​Police report - Make sure that a police report is written up, and ask the officer when it will be available, and where you can go to pick up a copy. Deliver this to your attorney.
  • Witness statements - The names, addresses, and phone numbers of all witnesses to the accident should be recorded. Your attorney will want this information, but don’t try to contact the witnesses again yourself.​
  • Estimates - It is imperative that as soon as possible after the accident, you get two or more written and dated estimates for repairs. It is a good idea to go to the repair shop the insurance company recommends, as well as at least one other repair shop to get independent estimates.

Slip and Fall Accident

A slip and fall is embarrassing, and the only thing on your mind might be just getting away from staring eyes. But there are things you must do before you leave the scene, in order to preserve any evidence you may need in the future.

  • Photos - Ensure that you have plenty of photos of the location of your fall, including the surface of the floor. This will record the condition of the floor as it was when you fell. Also, photograph your clothing and shoes, and floor coverings that may be in place in the area of your fall. Signs that warn of slipping should also be photographed. And of course, take photos of your injuries, even though immediately following the fall, they may look slight and unimportant.
  • Witness Statements - The names, addresses, and phone numbers of all witnesses to the accident should be recorded. Your attorney will want this information, but don’t try to contact the witnesses again yourself.
  • Physical Evidence - The shoes you were wearing when you fell should be placed into a plastic bag and sealed. This will preserve any evidence that is on the bottom of your shoes. Do the same with the clothing you were wearing - place into a plastic bag and seal without washing them first. If there was an item you slipped on, save that as well in a separate bag. If the item you slipped on is organic in nature (such as a fruit peel), place the bag in the freezer to preserve the evidence.

Dog or Animal Bite

A dog or animal bite is a scary event, especially when children are involved. The very first thing you should do is make sure the victim is physically okay and not in immediate danger. Also make sure no animal diseases have been transmitted to the victim. Even if there is no infection, you need to preserve the evidence that shows the bite occurred.

  • Obtain the name, address, and phone number of the animal’s owner. If it was a dog, obtain the license information. Call law enforcement and have them write up a report on the incident. If they can’t do it, then call animal control and ask to have a bite report filed.
  • Witness statements - The names, addresses, and phone numbers of all witnesses to the accident should be recorded. Your attorney will want this information, but don’t try to contact the witnesses again yourself.
  • Photos - Even if your injuries seem minor, take pictures of the visible injuries, your clothing, and yourself. (Even a scratch can turn into an infection.) Your attorney will decide which images are best as evidence, so take as many pictures as you feel are necessary.

Burn Accident

A burn accident that occurs because of someone else’s negligence is a terrifying event. Here is a list of the evidence you should try to preserve that will be integral to your legal case.

  • Photos - Take pictures of the location of the accident to record the conditions of the area. Your shoes and clothing should be photographed, as well as any signs warning of the potential for burns. Photograph your injuries immediately, even if they seem minor. Your attorney will decide which photos to use, so take as many as you feel are necessary.
  • Witness statements - The names, addresses, and phone numbers of all witnesses to the accident should be recorded. Your attorney will want this information, but don’t try to contact the witnesses again yourself.
  • Find out if an accident report or police report has been filed regarding the event. Obtain copies of this report for your attorney.