Gathering critical evidence at the scene of a car accident can prove invaluable for your recovery. As attorneys who are experienced in handling car accident cases, we always recommend—if you are able—that you document all evidence possible at the scene. Photos, witnesses, and key information about the intersection or road, the weather conditions, the traffic, etc. can help protect you and your insurance claim for the compensation you deserve if the accident causes you damage, such as medical bills, pain and suffering, and/or lost wages.
Here are some key tips for documenting evidence at the scene of a car accident.
- Do Not Rely on Your Memory for Crucial Accident Details
Car accidents happen in seconds. The experience is often overwhelming and a shock to the senses. At Taylor, Warren, Weidner & Hancock, we often encounter drivers and passengers who, only weeks or months later, cannot recall critical details about the road, the weather, the traffic or how, exactly, the impact occurred. This is why it is important to document evidence at the scene of the car accident. Unlike memories, evidence cannot fade over time.
- Photos Are Often the Best Evidence: Take Plenty of Pictures
Most of us have cell phones with cameras. Taking photos is the easiest, fastest way to document evidence at the scene. If you can safely do so, take pictures of:
- All damage to vehicles involved, both the exterior and interior if you can
- Positions of the vehicles at the crash scene including landmarks, intersections, street signs, crosswalks, traffic signals, etc.
- License plates
- Skid marks or road conditions
- Any debris from the accident including vehicle parts, tree limbs, or other objects that were part of the accident
If possible, you should also photograph or otherwise document (i.e., take note of):
- The driver's license and auto insurance card of all involved drivers
- Weather and road conditions
- Time of day
- Witness contact information
- The speed you were driving
- Events that led up to the accident, i.e., your route, where you were going, the approximate time the accident occurred, how the impact occurred, etc.
- Preserve Your Evidence
Be sure to save all photos, notes, and other information you collected at the scene in a safe place, as well as digitally on your computer or other devices. Be sure to preserve:
- Your photos
- Your notes about the accident
- Receipts for tow trucks, repairs, and/or car rentals
- If you do need medical care, keep copies of your medical bills including emergency department and doctor appointments
- If you do miss time from work, keep a log of time/days missed and any pay stubs showing lost wages
Why Evidence? Insurance Companies Look for Ways to Deny or Undervalue Claims
Even if you take pictures, notes, and keep accident-related receipts, your auto insurance company and/or the insurance company for the other driver may try to gather or create evidence that disputes both your account of the accident (i.e., trying to find ways to say you caused the accident) and the extent of your medical injuries, if any (i.e., trying to say you are not as hurt as you claim). At Taylor, Warren, Weidner & Hancock, we have represented car accident and other personal injury victims for decades. Sadly, it is our experience that insurance companies can often be difficult to deal with and can start taking actions from the moment a car accident occurs to find ways to refuse paying you what you are owed as a result of the damage the accident caused you, i.e. damage to your car or injuries to your body.
We Are on Your Side
As lawyers, we firmly believe that you should not have to pay for someone else's negligence. This is the reason we all carry liability insurance: to pay for damages caused when we cause an accident. If the accident was the other driver's fault, it is that driver's insurance company that you will be pursuing for the payment you are owed, not the driver him/herself. Pursuing what you are fairly owed may not be easy and may not feel fair. You deserve a team of experienced insurance attorneys representing your best interest, working to protect you, and putting forth every effort to ensure you recover what you are owed for the damages and destruction the accident caused.
If you've been in a car accident and feel your insurance company or the other driver's insurance company is not stepping up and taking responsibility for the damages caused, do not hesitate to contact us. At Taylor, Warren, Weidner & Hancock, we never charge any fee or cost to simply review your car accident insurance claim and answer any questions you may have.