Should I collect evidence at the accident scene?
Yes, when you’re gathering evidence, be sure to exchange information with all other involved parties, including:
- Full Names.
- Contact information (addresses, telephone numbers, etc.).
- Insurance information.
- License plate numbers.
- Each vehicle’s make, model, year, and color.
- Each vehicle’s registration number.
- Each driver’s license number.
- Get statements from any willing witnesses.
Take photos of:
- All vehicle damage.
- All physical injuries.
- Any evidence that shows road and/or weather conditions.
Please be aware that it’s crucial to gather this information as quickly as possible while everything is fresh in your mind. The further away in time you are from the accident, the harder it becomes to remember exactly what happened.
For example, physical wounds begin to heal over time and taking a picture minutes after the accident—as opposed to weeks later—will help show the severity of the injury and help you remember exactly what happened the day of incident.
Should I call the police after an accident?
Yes, you should call the police if there’s:
- Significant property damage.
- Serious bodily injury.
- A hit and run (this is very important to preserve a “ghost car” claim)
The situations above are the most important scenarios during which police assistance is critical.
Should I obtain a copy of the police report?
Yes, the police report is official documentation of circumstances surrounding the accident. Although it cannot be submitted as primary evidence in the any personal injury case, it sheds great light and detail on what happened at the time of the accident.In addition to the same kinds of evidence you gathered at the scene of the accident police reports also generally include the officer’s understanding of the details and causes related to the accident. Some of these reports contain diagrams of the accident scene and impact point which are very helpful in determining fault.
Should I claim fault for the accident?
No, never claim/admit fault for an auto accident. While you may think you are the party at fault for the accident, you may very well not be aware of all the facts and circumstances that in fact caused the accident.
Fault is a question of fact that will be determined with further investigation.
Should I see a doctor after a car accident?
Your health should be your main priority after a car accident. Although you may feel “fine” you are not a doctor, and often times symptoms start to show weeks later regarding some serious soft tissue damage. We always encourage clients to seek a medical evaluation, for purposes of your health and any insurance claims you file, it’s best to always seek medical attention as soon as possible following a car crash.
When should I hire a lawyer?
While you should consider hiring an accident/personal injury attorney if there’s severe property damage and you don’t feel that either your or the party’s insurance company is fairly compensating you, you should always hire a personal injury attorney if you’ve been injured in an accident.
Car accidents—especially those involving bodily injury—can bring about stressful times. Add to that multiple insurance companies with teams of skilled lawyers, and you could find yourself in completely uncharted territory.