After an accident, it’s critically important to thoroughly document all evidence relating to the wreck. Incorrect or inadequate documentation of an auto accident can imperil your claim with your own insurance company, the other driver’s insurance company, or any other third party. If you’ve been in an accident, use these tips to help you document everything:
Write Notes at the Scene of the Accident
A car accident is a dramatic event, but taking notes after an accident is a good way to document your case. If you are physically able, write down information at the scene. Take down information like who was present, what caused the accident, your speed, the road conditions, and anything said by other drivers or witnesses. These notes will assist the claims adjuster assigned to your case and any lawyer that may become involved. If you file a lawsuit, these notes become important evidence. Additionally, our memories fade with time. It may be many months, or even years, before your case goes to trial. Having notes can help jog your memory later.
Collect Information from Other Drivers and Witnesses
Even though you likely will be stressed after an accident, calmly collect the names and contact information for any other person involved in the accident, including other drivers and witnesses. For other drivers involved in the accident, you should also write down their insurance information.
Take Photos of Damage and Injuries
If your cell phone has a camera, take as many pictures as reasonably needed to document the scene of the accident, property damage, and injuries. Photos can serve as evidence in a lawsuit and they also lend strength to your case. Make sure you document exterior damage, interior damage, license plates, skid marks, parts that have separated from the vehicle, and any other information that may be relevant.
Keep All Receipts and Bills
Keep all records and documents relating to medical bills, car repairs, and other expenses. If the accident impacts your ability to work, keep accurate employment records as well. Record each visit to the doctor and include a small summary of what was discussed and what treatment was given. If you file a lawsuit, any recovery will largely be based on injuries you sustain and damage to your property. As such, keeping accurate receipts and records likely will have an impact on your recovery.
Documenting your car accident is the first step to ensuring your claim is handled appropriately and that you receive fair compensation for property damage and injuries. For more information on what happens an accident, check out this resource from the law firm of Martinson & Beason, P.C.
About the Author: Morris Lilienthal is a shareholder with the personal injury law firm Martinson & Beason, P.C. He is AV rated by Martindale-Hubbell and has received the Alabama Super Lawyer Rising Star award. In addition to car accidents, he also assists clients with wrongful death, nursing home negligence, and products liability cases.