Just about any article you read or person you talk to about handing a car accident will stress that you need to gather evidence from the scene.
This is a daunting thing to think about, especially considering the fact that after being in an accident, you’ll probably be shaken up and flustered, not exactly focused and ready to play detective. However, even if it seems stressful, it’s important to do. If you’re not sure what kind of evidence might be needed or how to acquire it, here are a few tips for if you ever find yourself in that situation.
Why Evidence Collection Matters
When it comes to proving you’re not at fault in an accident, you will more than likely need some proof. Even the best car accident lawyer in Phoenix or any other area will need some solid evidence to help you win your case.
Not only is evidence needed to determine responsibility for an incident, it can also impact the amount of compensation the victim can claim after any injuries. The evidence provided can truly make or break a legal case and having the right data can help you recover funds needed to pay medical bills or fix your car.
Now that you know the ‘why,’ here’s the ‘how.’
Secure the Scene
Before you start trying to gather evidence, make sure that the scene of the incident is secured. This refers to safely moving the vehicles involved out of the way (and any parts that may have scattered on the road) so avoid any further incidents. If necessary, warning signs or flares should be set up to alert other drivers of the accident.
This is especially important if the incident takes place on the highway, or any busy road in general.
Call the Police
Calling the authorities after a car accident is important because the incident needs to be reported. However, this is even more crucial if someone has been seriously hurt. If someone has been injured, call the police right away before focusing on anything else. It’s also important in this case to contact an ambulance or other emergency medical services.
You’ll need to inform the reporting officer of the incident, what happened, how you believe it happened. Provide them with your name and contact details so that they’re able to formally process the incident and contact you for follow-ups.
Once these essentials have been taken care of, you can start gathering more information about the car accident. One of the first things you should do is talk to the other party involved. Remember to mind what you say when speaking to them, though, to avoid admitting fault even accidentally.
The information you should be sharing with the other party includes names and contact details, information about your insurance policies and policy numbers. It can also be helpful to note down one another’s vehicle details like registration numbers.
Next, document everything you possibly can about the incident, where, and how it took place. Take photos and videos of the accident scene, capture damage to the vehicle, the road conditions, and traffic signs in the direct vicinity.
You should take note and even photograph any personal injuries too. Your smart watch might have even picked up information about the accident, since some of these devices have trackers and emergency alert systems built into them. Gather what data you can from these devices or any tech in your vehicle that might be helpful.
Gather Witness Statements
Rounding up some eye-witnesses to provide their own account for what happened is a crucial next step. While someone in your passenger seat might seem like the obvious option, they might not always be credible. You could turn to nearby pedestrians, drivers of other vehicles, or anyone who might have stopped to help out at the scene.
Make sure you ask the right questions to ensure that you have valuable information to provide for the report and to insurance companies, attorneys, etc. and get permission to share their contact details as well.
Preserve Physical Evidence
Finally, if you have any physical evidence, then you should take care to preserve it in case it might prove useful in future legal cases, etc. This could include things like damaged clothing or other items.
With this in mind, you may also want to avoid repairing any damage to your vehicle until evidence of that damage has been documented and filed away for safekeeping. Every little bit counts!