What Evidence Do I Collect After My Car Accident?
You and another driver just got into a car accident. Assuming you are able to safely exit your vehicle and do not have any serious injuries that require immediate medical attention, you will want to collect important information for your insurance company, a settlement, or a possible lawsuit.
Exchange information and contact the police. After the accident, it is important to call the police and get a copy of the police report. The next important step is to exchange contact and insurance information with the other driver and verify this information with their driver’s license. If the other driver does not have a driver’s license, verify their name in any way possible, such as their insurance card or vehicle registration. If the other driver does not stop at the scene, write down their license plate number and then call the police to report what happened.
Take photos of the scene. Take photos from multiple angles and viewpoints. This includes photos that are close-up and some that are farther away. Close-up photos will help show details of car damage, skid marks, etc. Photos taken farther away will show the accident in context, such as the intersection, the traffic control devices (stop signs and traffic lights), the lighting at the time of the accident, bother drivers’ viewpoints, witness’s viewpoints, how the cars are oriented after the accident, etc. Take a photo of anything that could have contributed to the accident, such as a broken tree or a faulty traffic light. A time stamp for the photos can help you with your case later. Write down anything that cannot be easily photographed.
Talk to witnesses. Ask the witnesses of the accident for their contact information. Ask them to write down what they saw and heard. These steps are important because witnesses are one of the best sources to figure out what exactly happened, and hopefully the cause of the accident. All witnesses may be important, even those who came to the scene after the accident. Witnesses who show up after the accident might have heard the other driver admit something that will help your case. Witnesses that were at the scene before the accident might be able to testify that the stop sign was knocked over or the traffic light was broken.
Take record of your injuries. Take photos of any bruises, swelling, or scratches. Visit a doctor to assess your injuries and get a record of their assessment. If the doctor treats your injury, take photos of bandages, casts, devices you need for recovery, etc.
Write down what happened. Your memory might fade as time goes on, so it is helpful to write everything down right after the accident. These notes will be helpful later when you need to refer to them.
If you were injured and could not take photos on the day of the accident, go back to the scene on the same day of the week at the same time of day as your accident. Take photos of the area from many angles. This way you can show the lighting, the traffic flow, the traffic devices, etc.
Car accidents and the disputes that can follow are tricky to navigate. Find a personal injury attorney to help you exercise your rights.
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