- What Information Do I Need to Collect After an Accident?
- Should I Call the Police?
- Do I Need to Take Pictures of the Accident Scene and Preserve Other Evidence?
- Should I Go to the Doctor?
- Should I Contact My Insurance Company?
- Should I Talk to the Other Drivers’ Insurance Company?
- When Should I Contact an Attorney?
- Contact numbers
- Insurance information
- Driver’s license numbers
In addition, make notes about as much of the following as you can:
- How did the accident occur?
- Did anyone involved in the accident immediately report any injuries to first responders or anyone else?
- Was anyone provided medical assistance at the scene of the accident?
- Where did the accident take place?
- When did the accident occur?
- Were there any weather conditions that could have contributed to the accident, such as a bright glare from the sun or roads slippery from rain?
- Was there anything already wrong with any of the vehicles involved prior to the accident, such as a broken headlight, brake light, signal, flat tire, dents, etc.?
- What damage was sustained to the vehicles as a direct result of the accident?
- Were any of the vehicles towed from the scene of the accident?
- Did anyone verbally admit responsibility for the accident, and what comments were made?
Were the police called to the scene?
- If so, what were their names and badge numbers?
- Did they issue anyone a ticket?
- Did anyone appear to be under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol?
- Were any of the involved parties driving a company-owned vehicle or driving for work-related reasons at the time of the crash?
The police report will include:
- Witness statements
- A check for drug or alcohol use
- And may even secure an admission of fault from the negligent driver
They may also issue one or more traffic tickets for infractions that led to the accident, which can be additional proof of negligence. Even if your car accident was minor, resist the urge to keep things simple by settling things with the other driver(s) on the spot.
- The accident location
- The vehicles involved
- Various approaches to the accident scene
- The persons involved, particularly if they have suffered an injury
Also, taking photos of the accident and roadway can capture vital evidence such as "impending" skid marks. Tires do not immediately lockup and change from rolling tires to skidding tires. During the braking process, a tire begins to leave an imprint on the roadway before actually skidding. These marks are "impending" skid marks and are faint marks that can normally be seen on the roadway for only 24 to 48 hours after a collision. An impending skid and a skid mark, when taken together, give a more accurate record of the actual speed of a car before braking.
You should try to preserve as much from the accident scene as possible to prevent it from being lost, destroyed, sold, or otherwise compromised. If the evidence is removed to another location, it is important to put everyone on notice by certified mail, including owners, tow operators, wrecking yards, police impounds, and others so that they take every step to preserve important evidence. Failure to do so will subject them to being sued for allowing evidence to be destroyed. Our firm also works with investigators and other expert personnel who often can rush to the scene of any serious accident and preserve and document valuable evidence before it is lost.
You should definitely seek immediate medical attention if you feel any pain or discomfort or are seriously injured in any type of automobile accident. Many accident victims make the mistake of thinking their pain will go away on its own, waiting several weeks or even months before finally caving in and going to the doctor. Postponing treatment is not only bad for your health—it will affect your chances of obtaining the settlement you are entitled to since there will be no medical record of your injury on file at the time of the accident.
Seeing a doctor following the accident will ensure an early diagnosis of your injuries and could drastically reduce your discomfort and future treatment needs. Follow the doctor's advice to the letter and never miss a doctor's appointment or seeing a recommended specialist. If you substitute your judgment for that of a medical professional’s, it will be used against you in court.
If you have any doubts and would like legal advice before revealing any information to your insurance company, we highly recommend contacting a lawyer first. We can look into your specific car insurance policy and advise you on how best to provide the information your insurance company needs without compromising your case. You should never give a statement to the other driver's insurance company without consulting with an attorney to protect your rights and future chances of recovering compensation.
If they do call you, be polite (any angry comments or threatening behavior can be used against you), but decline to speak by saying, "I am not prepared to discuss this matter with you at this time." Insurance companies' claims adjusters are professional negotiators. They have extensive experience manipulating accident victims like you into giving them information that can hurt your claim—including trying to talk you out of hiring your own lawyer.