SettlementCentral.Com welcomes you to the "Document
Everything!" portion of our Member Only area.
Good documentation - and organization of that documentation - is essential
to a good insurance settlement (whether you are doing it yourself or
retaining an attorney) There is no substitute for documentation. Your
memory cannot do it. You must: DOCUMENT! DOCUMENT! DOCUMENT!
Be prepared to keep track of things in your life as you have never done
before. This is not something you have to do extra because you have not
hired an injury attorney. Any attorney and his staff will tell you that the
value of your insurance claim depends upon your ability to document the
details of your claim. To the extent that you do not document, you will
spend time in the attorney's office going over the details with him or his
staff. More critical, when you cannot document parts of your injury claim,
you may discover that those parts of the claim have zero value.
In fact, because neither the attorney nor her staff was with you at the
time of your accident, through medical treatment, or through your recovery
process, you will have to document even more for them than if you handle
your own claim. Time Comparisons
provides more detail on the time required to settle your claim, with an
attorney or doing it yourself. You might just be surprised to see that it
can take more time to use an attorney!
Make memos to your own file of everything that might be pertinent, and a
few things else as well! These are just quick memos that you can put in
your file of phone calls that you are not going to document with a
confirming letter, difficulties you have had that you are going to keep
track of until you transfer them to your Confidential Personal Diary,
things that your doctor or physical therapist told you, and miscellaneous
thoughts that you want to gather in preparation for your Demand Letter.
Immediately after an accident, after you have reported it or if there is no
one to report to, begin documenting what happened. If you have followed our
advice, you will have a camera, notepad and pen in your car. If you are not
already it the car, go there to retrieve your notepad, pen and camera.
Write a note. Leave the note at the manager's door, on the gate of the
house with a dog that bit you, or simply make a record for yourself.
When writing a note to leave for someone else, explain the circumstances
and how to contact you. Keep a copy of the note, even if it means having to
write it out twice. Take photographs immediately.
If you have a friend with you, have him take the photographs and have him
be a witness to the condition that caused your injury.
If the scene is a motor vehicle accident, take a deep breath to make sure
you are okay and size up the extent of any passengers' injuries or injuries
to any other parties. Do what you can do to help. Move yourself and others
to safety. Should you move your car? There is mixed advice on this topic.
The police and others interested in traffic flow and safety would like you
to move your cars to the side of the road as soon as possible. That seems
reasonable advice because you will otherwise risk endangering others or
causing others to hit your vehicles.
However, before you move the vehicles, be sure to use your camera to
get photographs of the entire area and the resting place of the vehicles.
One or two won't do. You are talking about a potential difference of
thousands of dollars in a case, so get that disposable camera and take a
number of photographs. Then, move your vehicles to safety and await the
arrival of the police. Again, be aware of dirt debris that fell from
underneath the bumpers when the vehicles collided. You can show that in a
photograph, you can point it out to the police when they arrive, and you
can write it in your notes.