What Evidence Is Needed to Document a Car Accident?
If you ask anyone who’s ever been involved in a car accident, they’ll tell you that the experience can be frustrating and even overwhelming if you are not sure what to do. Having a basic understanding of what to do following an accident can help you navigate the aftermath with a little more clarity.
No matter the severity of a car accident, it’s important to collect relevant information pertaining to the crash. This information can serve as critical evidence down the road if you need to claim a personal injury, negotiate with insurance companies, or tackle any other legal obstacles that might arise.
So, exactly what evidence should be collected after a car accident, and how does this evidence help you? Read on to learn more about what you need to document if you’ve experienced a car accident, and call an experienced Palmdale car accident lawyer at the Kistler Law Firm if you’ve been hurt in a crash in Los Angeles or the Antelope Valley.
Take Photographs of the Scene
Your most powerful tool is right in your pocket, your phone’s camera. At the bare minimum, you should snap photographs of the accident as quickly as you can. Taking pictures of the scene helps officers, investigators, insurance companies, and lawyers get a literal image of what happened after the car accident. When you’re taking photos, be sure to do them in the following manner:
- Snap pictures from all angles for both your vehicle and other affected vehicles. The license plate numbers of all vehicles should be included in your photos as well.
- Snap images of the interior damage of affected vehicles.
- Include landmarks in the photographs to recreate the scene if needed.
- Capture roadway conditions including skid marks.
Document Your Memory of the Car Crash
Memory is not as reliable as you might think. Because of this, it can be helpful to write down what happened immediately after the car accident. When writing down your memory, include the time of day, the direction the vehicles were traveling in, and what you saw happen before, during, and after the car crash. If possible, document the speed your vehicle was driving as well.
Get a Copy of the Police Report
Following a car accident, a police officer will typically be dispatched to the scene. When the officers arrive, they will create a crash report with a statement from both you and the other parties involved and other relevant information. Once officers take down this information, follow up and ask for a copy of the police report. This may take several days to several weeks to obtain. The police report may be helpful if you need to pursue legal action in your case.
Gather Witness Testimony
If there were witnesses at the scene who observed the car accident, it’s important to get their contact information as well as a statement from them. Often, police officers are tasked with collecting witness statements and contact information, but you should do your due diligence and secure this information as well.
When filing a personal injury claim following a car accident, your lawyer may want to pull in statements made by witnesses at the scene of the accident. These witness statements can prove invaluable in helping you build a credible case.
Exchange Insurance Policy Information
After a car accident, it’s imperative to collect car insurance policy information from all drivers involved. Once you have this information, it’s important to contact your insurance company and report the car accident.
When negotiating with car insurance companies, having the necessary documents that prove your case will help give you better leverage in negotiations. Car insurance companies work to protect their policyholders and are committed to fighting against and devaluing claims made by other insurance companies and even legal teams. Being prepared with indisputable evidence is the best way to strengthen your case.
When to Speak With a Car Accident Lawyer
You should take care to collect important evidence following a car accident, no matter how big or small the car accident was. In instances where severe car accidents have occurred, this documentation and collection of evidence is even more important. Such evidence can help you prove a personal injury claim, property damage claim, or any other legal claims you’re going to make against other parties.
Working with an experienced car accident attorney can help you get the compensation you deserve. At the Kistler Law Firm, our Palmdale car accident attorneys will work with you to assess your case, help you collect evidence, and pursue appropriate legal action on your behalf. Reach out to our team today to schedule a free consultation about your case.