How Maryland Automobile Accident Victims Can Help Their Own Cases

By Peter DePaolis

If you’ve been hurt in an automobile accident in Maryland, it’s a good idea to retain a knowledgeable attorney to fight for the compensation you deserve. But there are many things that victims or their loved ones can do, themselves, to help their own case. Not only does this make your lawyer’s job easier, it may even improve your chances of winning.

How You Can Help Your Automobile Accident Case

These are a few steps you can take after an automobile accident to begin building your case:

Get witness information. Witness testimony is a valuable tool for substantiating key facts and refuting claims made by defendants. Although both parties can serve as witnesses in their own case, having a neutral third-party witness goes a long way in establishing credibility.

After an accident, the victim should reach out to any witnesses who saw what happened. Get their names, contact information, and a brief description of what they witnessed. These individuals can be called upon later to testify in court or at a deposition.

Take pictures and videos. To the extent possible, take photos and video of the accident scene. Document the injuries to yourself, to passengers, and to your vehicle. Record the entire scene itself and capture as much as you can.

Visual evidence is powerful, and hard to dispute. Once you’ve taken enough pictures or video, keep the data in a secure place to avoid accidentally deleting it. Share with your attorney as well.

Collect records. There will be a number of important records surrounding your accident. These can include, for example, medical records after a car accident, which document the nature and extent of your injuries. Any other records that pertain to the accident, your injuries, or your damages will be needed.

Regarding damages, consider any sort of monetary loss you’ve suffered because of the accident. And then start documenting it. As an example, if you were hospitalized because of your injuries, you will miss work and lose money. Gather your pay stubs and other work-related documents to start proving how much you lost.

Stay on top of your health and treatment. This is an important step, because only the victim can do it. Your doctor may recommend a course of treatment to help with your injuries. That could include anything from physical therapy to taking prescription medications. It is vital that an injury victim follow all doctor recommendations and make all appointments.

Failure to follow your doctor’s instructions isn’t just detrimental to your health. It can open the door to challenges by the defendant. Let’s say you ignore your doctor’s advice and whatever injuries you suffered get worse. It may well be that the initial injury is to blame for this, but the defendant may claim that your failure to follow treatment is what caused it.

Make your own notes. As soon as possible, write down as much information as you can remember about the accident. Include the basics like location, date, time of day, weather conditions, and identities of all parties involved. Be sure to describe how the accident happened in your own words, and include as many details as possible. You will want to share this information with your lawyer.

How an Attorney Can Help

Your attorney’s role is to argue the law, make sure the rules of civil procedure are followed, ensure that your evidence is admissible in court, and otherwise litigate your case. But you, the victim, can play an important part in helping with your case. If you’ve been hurt in Maryland, call Koonz McKenney Johnson & DePaolis LLP. We can schedule your confidential consultation today.

About the Author
Peter DePaolis joined the firm in 1980 and has since represented a large number of individuals involved in automobile collisions, truck accidents, bus crashes, defective products, and medical malpractice cases. A significant portion of Mr. DePaolis’ practice is devoted to working on behalf of people suffering from asbestosis, mesothelioma, and other asbestos-related cancers. He has led his firm’s fight against the asbestos industry and has recovered over $30 million in damages for asbestos victims and their families.