After a car accident, certain pieces of evidence are critical to preserve and will significantly impact your ability to recover compensation. Here are the types of evidence to gather that can help ensure you have a solid case.
Photo and Video Evidence
If emergency responders do not take you to the hospital immediately, stay and capture the following by taking photos or videos:
- The damage to all vehicles involved
- Final positions of the vehicles after the collision
- Property damage to the surrounding area
- Road conditions
- Weather conditions
- Skid marks and/or any debris
- Road signs and/or traffic lights
- Your injuries
Take photos or videos from multiple angles and at varying distances. This type of documentation can corroborate your version of how the accident occurred and who was at fault. For example, photos or videos of where the vehicles came to rest after impact and their damage can show the direction your vehicle was struck, the vehicle’s approximate speed, the distance to a traffic sign or signal, and other clues regarding fault. If you are taken to a hospital, you can ask a friend or family member to collect evidence at the scene for you or hire an attorney.
Notifying the police of your accident is vital. They will arrive on the scene and take an accident report, which will contain details of their investigation, including how they believe the accident occurred and who was to blame. Their report can carry a lot of weight in an insurance company’s decision on fault, especially if it notes that another party involved received a citation for a moving violation or was arrested.
If anyone witnessed the crash, ask if they are willing to make a brief recorded statement on your phone or write down what they saw. A witness’s honest point of view of what happened can help you prove another party’s liability. Insurance companies tend to take witness statements into account more considerably than driver statements since they are objective third parties with no financial stake in your claim.
Seeing a doctor as soon as possible after an accident is vital. Medical documentation must link your injuries and any potential injuries to the crash. If you wait too long to seek treatment, the at-fault party’s insurance company can argue that your injuries were not caused by the collision or are not as severe as you claim. As a result, you risk not being able to recover full reimbursement for your medical bills and expenses. The insurance company will also check that you are following your doctor’s advice and continuing any ongoing treatment they recommend.
Speak to an Experienced Attorney
The law does not require you to hire a car accident attorney, and it is possible in some situations to represent yourself through the insurance claims process. However, the more severe your injuries and financial losses, the more complicated an accident claim can become. If you make an error or mishandle your claim, it can cost you much more money down the road than it would to hire an attorney. They will help you collect the evidence you need to ensure the appropriate party is held accountable.