There are lots of reasons to file an injury lawsuit -- a car accident, a slip and fall, an intentional assault -- but before you file the paperwork, you need to prepare.
A lawsuit generally means a hearing, and to win in court you need to have evidence to prove your case. If all you have is your word against the defendant's, then there's a good chance the outcome won't go in your favor.
Some evidence you can collect later, but some of it should be dealt with right away. So what kind of evidence are you going to need, and what will be most helpful to your case? Check out these seven tips:
- Write down your recollection of events. While the events are still fresh in your mind, write down everything you remember about what happened. That will help you keep your facts straight later on.
- Take photos. Get photographic evidence of what your injuries looked like, including bruises or scratches. That can help show the harm caused at the trial, month after the injuries have healed.
- Collect documents. Insurance claims, emails, and other documentation can help prove your case, and can also affect your damage award. Keep all of these documents in one place so they're easy to find.
- Identify witnesses. Did anyone else see what happened? If so, you're going to want to ask them if they'll testify at a hearing. Get their names and contact information if they're random passers-by.
- Tally up costs. Injury lawsuits generally ask the court to make the defendant pay for damages. How much in damages? That depends on the dollar value of the harm caused, so keep a careful accounting of your bills.
- Go to the doctor's office. If you were hurt, then you should head to the doctor's office soon to get a professional opinion on your health. The doctor's comments on your injuries will carry more weight than your own in most cases.
- Get a lawyer. You could bring a lawsuit on your own, but in most cases that would significantly decrease your chances of success. Getting an attorney on your side makes it more likely that your case will have a good outcome.
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