When you suddenly find yourself involved in an auto accident, it usually shakes you up. Even if you are not seriously hurt, the suddenness and unpleasantness of being in that predicament is upsetting and you may want nothing more than to go home and recover.
However, to protect yourself later, and to maximize your chances of obtaining fair compensation for any vehicle damage, medical costs, and lost work time, there are some things to do at the accident scene. As much as you are able, try to create a record of how this car accident happened.
It is a good idea to keep a disposable camera in your vehicle for this purpose. Hopefully you will never need it. But in this unexpected situation it can be a huge ally. So take some snapshots of:
- Your vehicle damage, close-up and from further back to show the entire vehicle
- Any skid marks or debris on the road which will help to reconstruct the event later on
- Your injuries, if you can. If you can’t and don’t have a passenger who can, see if a bystander or witness can do that for you.
- Your passengers’ injuries, if any
- The scene in general, showing the lighting, weather, nearby signage, any road curves or anomalies, etc.
Most people have paper and pen in their car, purse or briefcase. Use it now to document what happened. If you do not finish while at the accident site, be sure an finish it as soon afterwards as possible. If there is any litigation about this car accident, it may take a year or longer. So you will need these on-the-spot notes to refresh your memory and strengthen your case.
Others involved in the accident may well have different accounts, not necessarily truthful and your notes, being fresh, will stand up well against any contradictions or denials coming from other parties.
- Note the accident time and exact location
- Get contact information from any witnesses and from other drivers involved
- Write down information on the circumstances such as weather or signage (or lack thereof) that you may have also photographed. Two sources of the same information will be a stronger statement.
Be sure to request a police report when it is available.
Keep both written notes and photographic documentation of your healing process. Note down your pain levels, medications, follow-up visits, and recovery measures such as dressings you have to change per your doctor’s instructions. Keep detailed notes on all expenses related to this accident, such as medications or special food.
If you have been seriously injured in a car accident, we can help. We can deal with insurance companies for you, obtain your medical records, take care of all paperwork, and you will be able to focus on your recovery. Please contact one of our car accident attorneys to schedule a free consultation.