The importance of gathering evidence after a car accident can be difficult to overstate, because the right evidence can make a crucial difference in the outcome of a personal injury claim.
The steps you take immediately following a car accident are critical, and knowing in advance, what information to collect, can save you frustration later on when you’re dealing with the insurance company.
Due to the nature of a car accident, evidence may be scattered and difficult to locate.
The following steps will help you collect evidence more efficiently.
How to Gather Evidence After a Crash
After an accident, your first priority should be to contact the proper authorities. Especially when someone is injured, filing a police report is paramount. An official record keeps details of the incident organized, and provides an important document that can be referred to at a later time.
While filling out the report, keep your emotions in check. Answer the officer’s questions by conveying only the facts. Never admit fault or accuse another driver. Remaining calm will help you recall the events more accurately.
Evidence can disappear quickly. Therefore, when gathering evidence after a car accident it is crucial to preserve as much as you can. You most likely have a smart phone with a camera, but if you don’t consider keeping a disposable camera in your glove box, so that you can take pictures to document the accident scene. If you have a passenger, they can take pictures while you speak with the police. It’s important to be sure to photograph the following:
- The position of the vehicles involved,
- All vehicle and property damage,
- Road conditions,
- Road and traffic signs, and
- Anything else that might benefit your claim.
Be sure to speak with any witnesses to the accident as well as the other drivers involved. Witnesses can be extremely helpful when determining fault, because they can verify what really happened on your behalf, if the other driver’s insurance company tries to blame you for the crash.
Remember to speak with the passengers in other vehicles, as well. Write down all of the witness’s contact information, including name, address, and phone number.
In addition to personal contact information, for the other drivers involved you will also need:
- Their driver’s license information,
- Their insurance providers name and phone number,
- The make, model, and year of their vehicle, and
- The vehicle identification number, or VIN.
If a commercial vehicle is involved, make sure to write down the vehicle owner’s name.
Most importantly, never sign or agree to anything without speaking to an attorney first. If the insurance company calls, you don’t have to talk to them. They will misconstrue your words and use them against you. Commonly, people have given a recorded statement to an insurance adjuster, only to realize later that they misremembered certain details.
Consult with your attorney to organize the specifics of your accident. Be certain that you comprehend the sequence of events and everything that transpired. Drawing a diagram of the accident might be helpful.
Remember, you have a legal right to confer with an attorney before you say anything to the insurance company, and an experienced and dedicated Colorado Springs car accident lawyer can make an important difference in the outcome of your legal case.