MOTOR VEHICLE ACCIDENT PERSONAL INJURY CLAIM
Which documents are necessary will depend on the nature of the accident; for a motor vehicle accident that is someone else’s fault, the potential client needs a copy of the police report. In Virginia, when police respond to a motor vehicle accident, they must make a full report of the accident, including information about the drivers, their history, a diagram of how the accident occurred and who’s at fault.
The police report is done mainly for statistical purposes but it is available several days after the accident and it is very important to obtain, as is the information gathered in the exchange between drivers when the police respond, including names and addresses, driver’s license and insurance information. If they have the names and contact information for any witnesses to the accident, those are absolutely critical to bring, as is a copy of their own automobile policy, since, unbeknownst to most people in Virginia, not only do they have liability coverage, but if an accident is their fault, they usually have something called medical payments coverage or medical expense coverage.
This is a form of no fault health insurance that says if you’re in an accident and hurt by a car anywhere in the world, even if it’s not your own car, you can submit the medical bills from that accident to your own insurance company and they will pay all of the medical bills directly to the insured, tax-free, up to whatever the MedPay or MedExpense policy limit, which is usually $5,000 or $10,000.
This is a windfall for the client; they don’t know they have it 99 percent of the time, so I can look like a hero when I can show them an extra $5,000 or $10,000 in tax-free money. The best part is, they can still get all of their medical bills paid a second time by the tortfeasor’s insurance company.
That’s a double windfall, but it can get better; if their health insurance pays most of their medical bills, they can see a triple recovery by law in Virginia ethically, morally and legally; they can collect the total value of all of the medical bills as special damages from the at-fault party’s insurance company, get the payment of their medical bills up to the policy limits on their own medical payments coverage and their health insurance company will also most of their medical expenses. At the same time, the plaintiff’s and defendant’s insurance companies get no credits or offsets for any of those payments.
SLIP AND FALL PERSONAL INJURY CLAIM
If the case is a slip and fall accident, the client will want to bring a store incident report, usually filled out by a manager, as well as names and contact information for any witnesses to your slip and fall, and the names of the wrongdoer or the company that caused the injury. For a product liability case, you’ll need the name of the company who sold the product and the manufacturer of the product that hurt you, the labels and containers from the product, and receipts for the product. All of this information should be provided to an attorney immediately for them to investigate and establish liability and begin organizing a plan of action to get the maximum possible compensation for their client.