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What kind of evidence should I be gathering after an accident?
Gather As Much Information About The Car Accident As Possible
The first thing that you should do when an accident happens is notify emergency services. Having the police prepare an accident report is necessary for the claim process.
Additionally, when the police are on the scene, the other party and any nearby witnesses are more apt to tell the truth about the car accident.
If your injuries allow you to move around, take pictures of the scene of the accident.
Photograph each car, the ground where the impact happened, and the surrounding areas.
If there are any signs, construction cones, or any other relevant things near the road, photograph them as well.
Take at least one picture of the background scenery so that you can show weather conditions.
You will want to take pictures of your injuries if they are visible, and any injuries to your passengers. If they are not visible at the scene, take pictures of bruising, swelling, and cuts when you can remove your clothes at the hospital or later at home.
You will want to gather statements from any witnesses. You can record them on your phone at the scene or get their contact information to give a statement later. Photograph their license if you have nothing to write on at the time.
Take videos of the scene as well and ask one of your passengers to take video evidence of you. This may sound silly, but these videos can be admitted as evidence regardless of what the insurance company tells you.
Over collecting information is not a bad thing. Your attorney can sort out all of this information and decide what is most relevant.
Go get a medical evaluation, preferably as soon as you leave the scene of the accident. Do not wait over 72 hours to seek medical attention.
It is important to go right away because after 24 hours, even though you have the legal right to receive care, the insurance company will start denying or delaying treatment stating that these injuries or symptoms could be from something other than the accident because you waited too long to seek medical care.
Keep all of the paperwork that the hospital or doctor gives you. Start a file for this type of paperwork.
If they give you a follow-up appointment, make sure that you go and follow all of their recommendations for your care.
Document everything that happens at each doctor’s appointment in a separate journal for yourself. This will show the progress of your injury and recovery.
You will want to keep receipts for anything you have to purchase for your injuries. If the doctor tells you to buy large cotton pads to put on a laceration, keep the receipt and document that you did this and when. If you have to rent a wheelchair, keep the receipts and documents when you begin to use it.
At the scene of the accident, you should have exchanged information with the other party. If they contact you in any way, document the interaction.
If you are contacted by the other insurance company, document the call and then refer them to your attorney. Treat them like you would your own with only providing necessary information. Never give them anything too detailed.
Keep a journal of days missed from work and other expenses you may have incurred because of the accident, such as having to pay someone to do your laundry or cut your grass. All of this information is relevant.
You will also want to keep a personal journal of how you feel, good and bad, and how the injury is impacting your life. Be honest. If you have a good day, document it. If you have a bad day, write it down.
All this information gathering will help you build a strong case for your compensation claim.
Related: What can the insurance company hold against me? I’m the victim!