If you’re involved in a car accident, gathering evidence as quickly as possible is one of the most important things you can do to protect your legal rights. That way, you’ll be prepared should you need to make a property damage or personal injury claim against another driver.
If you believe the other driver was at fault, whether it was due to drunk driving, speeding, distracted driving such as texting – the leading cause of car accidents today – or anything else, the more evidence you have, the better. While there are plenty of honest drivers out there, unfortunately, sometimes even those who are aware they were negligent will contest a claim. While a St. Louis car accident lawyer or a reputable attorney in any city is likely to do everything possible to help build your case, evidence is the best way to prove that the other driver was truly at fault.
The most important evidence you’ll need after a car accident includes the following.
As you’re probably already aware, it’s essential to obtain the other driver’s contact information. Assuming injuries don’t prevent doing so, you’ll want to get their name, telephone number, address, and insurance information. If they’ve fled the scene and it’s a hit and run, try to get the license plate but don’t chase the driver, let the police handle it. Otherwise, ask for the individual’s driver’s license or another official document like their car registration or insurance card. If there were witnesses like pedestrians or other drivers who saw any part of the accident or actions of the other driver just prior to its occurrence, try to get their contact information as well.
If possible, take photos of all vehicles involved in the accident from various vantage points, paying special attention to any areas that were damaged. Try to take photos from varying distances, such as at 5 feet, 10 feet, and 20 or more feet from where it happened. Damage done to the vehicles will tell a lot about how an accident occurred, including how fast they were going when it happened and who was at fault. Be sure to capture shots of any skid marks or debris that may have been on the road as well as a traffic light or stop sign to show where the accident occurred in relation to it, if applicable. If you can keep a common landmark in the photos, it may help investigators determine the distance and scale between items in your pictures.
Keep in mind that juries usually don’t go to accident scenes, so photos can help provide them with a better idea as to the accident’s location. Shadows, rain, and other weather conditions, and bright sunlight can all affect the quality of the pictures, so you might need to experiment with your camera settings to get the best quality.
Documentation of Medical Treatment
Documenting the extent and nature of your injuries is a critical part of evidence gathering as well. That means you’ll want to obtain medical treatment for any injuries as soon as possible after the accident. Keep written notes such as a journal that relates to all the appointments you have, the healthcare providers you saw, and the types of treatment received. Write down and keep receipts of any payments you make out of pocket too.