If you are involved in a car accident caused by another driver, that driver should be the one to pay your accident-related expenses. Whether you plan to file an insurance claim or take the other driver to court, you’ll need to document the damage to your vehicle. It’s also important to document the extent of any injuries caused by the accident. Follow these tips to collect evidence that supports your claim.
- Take photos of the damaged vehicle.
High-quality photos are very valuable in an auto accident case. If you are not injured in the accident, take photos of your car as soon as you finish giving your statement to the police. Try to take photos in the best light possible so it’s easy to see the damage caused by the other driver. If you are unable to take photos due to your injuries, ask a friend or family member to come to the accident scene and take photographs for you.
- Write down as much information as you can remember.
The more information you have about the accident, the better your chances of winning a lawsuit against the other driver. Once your vehicle is in a safe place, write down as much as you can remember about the accident. You’ll need the make, model, and color of the other vehicle. Write down what you were doing at the time of the accident, such as making a left turn or waiting at a red light. If the other driver fled the scene, write down as much as you can remember about his or her appearance.
- Collect statements from witnesses.
Ask witnesses to provide as much information as possible about the accident. At minimum, get the name and address of every person who witnessed the crash. Better yet, ask witnesses to write down what they saw. You may be able to use these statements to negotiate a better settlement or win a lawsuit against the other driver.
- Document the road conditions at the time of the accident.
Poor road conditions often contribute to auto accidents, especially during inclement weather. If the road was slippery, make note of it in your accident log.
- Photograph anything out of the ordinary at the accident scene.
If you notice anything out of the ordinary at the scene of the accident, such as a piece of debris in the road, take a picture of it. You should also document malfunctioning traffic signals, missing or vandalized stop signs, or traffic signs obscured by bushes or tree branches. Any of these things may have played a role in the accident.Take (or have taken) pictures of yourself, documenting any bruises and other injuries.
After you collect evidence, you need to discuss your case with an experienced auto accident attorney. It’s not uncommon for an insurance company to offer a lowball settlement that won’t scratch the surface of your accident-related expenses. A skilled personal injury lawyer can negotiate with the insurance company or file a lawsuit on your behalf.