When filing a burn injury lawsuit, the petitioner is required to include certain documentation in support of the injury claim. The exact nature of the paperwork and required documentation will depend on the damages and injuries caused by the incident.
The following list includes basic documentation that is likely to apply in an injury or accident claim.
Should a burn accident occur, it is important to contact the police immediately for several reasons. Accidents typically cause emotions to run high; the police presence will help moderate these intense behaviors. Additionally, the police involved will document the incident from their perspective.
Police reports are considered public records and available upon request by all parties involved. Depending on the specifics of the accident, there might also be an accident reconstruction accident report related to the burn event created by specialized reconstruction professionals employed by the police department.
Note, though, police reports are not always conclusive. They are, however, a really good starting point for the burn incident’s investigation.
Statements from the Client/Victim
The victim’s statement is typically considered one of the most critical pieces of documentation regarding the burn injury lawsuit. This statement from the victim is generally memorialized – in writing or on video – when the victim has the best opportunity for recalling the events. This typically happens as soon as possible after the incident occurs.
Injury attorneys are tasked with the responsibility of determining if the client/victim has made a statement to any other individual (other than their legal representative) that may diminish the value of the damages caused by the burn event.
The victim’s statement should detail how the injuries have impacted their daily capacity.
Statements from Witnesses
A witness statement is written documentation from those individuals who witnessed the burn accident. Witness statements include perspectives of the accident that may bring to light the cause of the accident.
Witness statements are taken by law enforcement agencies, federal oversight agencies, and police investigating the scene. For example, if an accident occurs on a federally managed highway, the Federal Highway Administration will have authority over this jurisdiction and likely take charge and investigate the incident.
Medical reports should be obtained for the entire time the victim is under a physician’s care and include all medical procedures/costs regarding the injury that resulted from the burn accident.
Medical reports are also obtained for each party to the incident because someone involved in the incident may have had a pre-existing medical condition that might have precluded them from engaging in the activity that caused the burn accident.
Videography or Photography
It is critical to document – by video or by photography – the accident that caused the burn injury. In the modern digital age, a camera (and probably many cameras) have likely recorded some of the incident. Include those videos from nearby strategic locations as a part of the lawsuit’s documentation.
If the burn incident included a motor vehicle, it is important to obtain a copy of the vehicle’s service history. This service history can help investigators determine if the vehicle (or its lack of maintenance) is the cause of the accident.
Should the incident be the result of an airplane crash, the service history will become an important factor in determining if there were worn out parts or incomplete maintenance.
911 Dispatch Calls
A 911 dispatch call documents the accident as the aftermath unfolds. This real-time account generally provides important details regarding the specifics of the accident. It helps guide investigators to the other facets of the accident that have yet to be examined.
911 dispatch calls provide raw footage regarding the emotional state of the parties to the accident.
Proper documentation is essential to winning any lawsuit. Therefore, it is wise to start collecting documentation and photographs immediately after the accident that caused the injury. Very often, information gathered during those first few moments proves to be invaluable in support of the lawsuit’s claim for damages.