In Part I of this continuing series, we discussed choosing an attorney. Once you have done the due diligence of hiring an attorney, your attorney will begin investigating your case.
This process takes many different forms depending on the facts, however, in a personal injury case the process typically begins with ordering the police report. In Illinois, two separate reports are generated after a motor vehicle collision. The first is the Illinois Motorist Report which is a hand-written report created by the people involved in the collision. This report contains information on all drivers involved along with a summary of the events leading up to the crash. The second report is called the Illinois Traffic Crash Report. This report is created by the officer on a computer and contains additional information such as weather conditions, the location of damage on the vehicles, and the officer’s opinion on what caused the crash. Depending on the severity of the crash, the second report can take months to generate.
Along with ordering the police reports, your attorney will also send a notice of representation letter to the other driver’s insurance company. The purpose of this letter is to alert their insurance company of a pending lawsuit so that it may also begin an investigation.
Your attorney may also visit the scene of the crash to obtain photographs or other measurements. This evidence may be helpful to your attorney, and your case, for many different reasons. It could help show that you were not at-fault for the crash, it may help show that the other driver is lying about the events of the crash, it could also be used later at trial to help the jurors visualize exactly how the crash occurred.
Finally, your attorney will research the other driver. In a crash between two cars, this research could include everything from a broad Google search to a very specific search through a paid service to see if the driver has any other civil or criminal issues. If your case involved a bus or a semi-truck, which are state and federally regulated, the search involves much more specific items, many of which are publicly filed.
The investigation part of your personal injury lawsuit is vitally important to the remainder of your case, and will often frame the lawsuit. Understand that while you are seeking medical treatment for your injuries, your attorney is working hard to present the strongest case on your behalf.
Have a legal question about your case? Call our offices, one of our attorneys will be glad to speak with you.