Car accidents are a serious and life-altering incident. The consequences of collusion can affect the victim’s ability to travel, family, work, or result in death.
Gathering evidence to support your claim is vital to convincing an insurance company adjuster of the other driver’s fault or assisting your car accident lawyer in case you find yourself in court.
Videos and Photographs
Documenting the scene and vehicle conditions is crucial for establishing and proving your accident claim. Use your cell phone or keep a disposable camera in your glove compartment for capturing evidence.
Depending on the seriousness of the accident and injuries involved, you may not capture the scene yourself and request an uninjured passenger or bystander to assist. If you’re able, direct the person assisting with what images you will need and paperwork you will need recorded.
Capture skid marks, the location of street signs and visibility, any obstructions that may obscure view, and the conditions of the vehicles and tires. Also get the vehicle license plates and VIN on the car dashboards.
Keep in mind, do not video or photograph anyone who does not consent to being recorded. It is important to determine what the laws are for your state in these situations.
Witness Statements and Contact Information
Record and speak to witnesses about what they observed. Also, for your evidence records, document everyone on the scene’s names, addresses, and phone numbers. Try to capture their driver’s license, if possible. Record the other driver’s contact information too. Ask to take photos of their vehicle registration and their insurance paperwork.
If asked, also provide this information to the other driver for their records.
Request a written statement when dealing with the police on-scene. Record the officer’s badge number, name, the police report number, and request the officer’s card.
After the accident, get a copy of the police report. Contact the department with jurisdiction over your accident and submit a request. It is possible you may be able to make your request online.
Public Records, Including Driving Records
Cell phone records are important when seeking evidence of fault in an auto accident. Unfortunately, many drivers fall victim to texting while driving, and even a very short exchange can cause injury or death.
Sometimes the at-fault driver may consent to allowing your attorney or the police to review their cell phone records. Otherwise, gain a subpoena and send a preservation letter to the defendant. This is to protect the logs and texts on the driver’s phone and bars them from deleting. Undertake this action as quickly as possible to preserve evidence for your case.
Another source of record your lawyer or the police may get is surveillance or bank ATM footage. Many businesses have cameras that monitor the exterior of their businesses for break-ins or other security issues. Often, these records may capture the street where the accident occurred or the vehicles approaching the scene.
Make a record of your doctor appointments and the recommended treatments. You also need to record the charges for your medical treatment and rehabilitation you may need.
At the completion of your treatments, request copies of your medical records with all imaging of your injuries. Best practice is to document all billing and loss of wages because of your injuries. You will need to set up a folder with supporting evidence from W-2s, pay stubs, and contracts. Make searching easier, also setup an index spreadsheet to track these costs and losses.