What Evidence Should I Collect at the Scene of the Accident?

We understand it is difficult to get your bearings immediately following a car accident, between checking to make sure everyone is OK, to calling emergency personnel, and digesting the fact that you have just been in an accident.  But if you know what evidence to collect at the scene of the accident, it can go a long way toward protecting your rights against opposing parties and their insurance companies, and building a case if you pursue a lawsuit. In addition to gathering required information, such as contact and insurance information from the other driver, there are a few key pieces of information you should make an effort to document and obtain.

Taking Photos at the Scene

Whenever possible, take photos of the scene of the accident before moving the vehicles. If it is unsafe to do so, try to draw a diagram showing how the vehicles collided as soon as you have a chance. You may need to have your vehicle towed to an auto body shop, especially if it is not drivable. Make sure to photograph and thoroughly document the damage to your vehicle before it gets repaired. These pictures will be useful evidence of the damage to your vehicle, which can support your bodily injury claim as well as your property damage claim.

Before you leave the scene, you should also take pictures of the direction traffic was going at the time of the accident, the presence and/or location of traffic signals or signs, and any other elements that could have caused or contributed to the collision. Look for any obvious skid marks, and take photos of those, too. Certain characteristics of the scene may support your claims for compensation—factors you do not even recognize or realize at the time of the accident.

If there are any obvious signs of injury, such as bleeding, you may want to take pictures of that as well. 

Taking Notes after an Accident

At the scene of the accident, it is also important to take notes of any statements made by the other driver or drivers, as well as any witnesses to the scene. You will also want to obtain contact information for the witnesses if they will allow. Essentially, it is helpful to just write down anything anybody says describing the accident or what they saw. Also document the time of day, the weather, and road conditions where the accident took place.  Photographs of the weather and road conditions are helpful as well.

Continue Keeping Careful Track of Evidence

After you leave the scene of the accident, continue to keep careful track of all records and documentation related to your injuries and damages. Taking the time to gather and archive as much evidence as possible after a car accident can be the difference between obtaining a fair settlement offer and fighting with insurance companies for appropriate compensation. This is also help to get your claim resolved in a timely and efficient mannger.  Generally, strong evidence equals a strong case—and a satisfactory recovery.

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