How To Gather Evidence After A Car Accident
In the immediate aftermath of a vehicle collision, you may feel overwhelmed and unsure of what steps to take. The first step, of course, is to assess your physical health. Taking a moment to breathe and focus on your body, scanning for any feelings of pain or discomfort, is critical. It is important to do this before trying to move, as attempting to move with a neck or spinal cord injury may make it far more serious.
If you are able to safely move around, this is a critical time to gather evidence that can help support your case. Assuming both parties have insurance, the liable party’s insurance company will offer a settlement to cover the accident-related costs for the non-liable party. However, the determination of liability is not always clear-cut. In complex collisions and multi-car accidents, determining liability can sometimes take weeks or months. The more evidence you can gather, the more likely you are to be able to expedite the determination of liability and get the coverage you need as soon as possible.
It is important to take pictures after an accident. Taking them on your phone is fine. Most people know to photograph the damage to their vehicle, but in addition to photographing all vehicle damage (and corresponding license plates), it is also important to take photos and video of the scene of the accident. If there are any skid marks, it is important to photograph these both close up and far away, as they can be helpful in reconstructing the accident. It is also important to photograph any traffic signals and signage as well as its proximity to the collision. Photograph the license, registration, and insurance information of all drivers involved in the crash, as you are likely to be shaken up after the crash and may make mistakes in copying the information down by hand.
If any drivers stopped to assist you after the accident, or if there were any bystanders who saw it happen, be sure to get their contact information so that you can pass it on to the insurance company. They can serve as witnesses and provide their account of events. This can be helpful because many times it is just the conflicting word of both drivers, so having third-party witnesses can help to resolve the case more quickly.