The time immediately following a car accident can be overwhelming and stressful. Yet, this is also when you should try to begin thinking logically and collecting evidence. Depending on your policy and coverage, car insurance may cover some damages and medical bills. However, car insurance may not be enough to cover the costs of a severe car accident. If you decide to pursue legal action, you’ll be glad that you collected a few key pieces of time-sensitive information.
Here are a few types of evidence to collect after a car accident:
Taking a few photographs at the scene of the accident can help establish fault. Make sure you take photographs of the damage to both vehicles. You might also take photographs of the street signs or any distinguishable points of interest, which may be important details later. Photos of any obstacles involved in the accident can also be helpful, including signs, trees, or tire marks in the street. Keeping a journal after a car accident that includes photographs may even be helpful to some people.
Photographs are useful evidence, but videos are even better. The authenticity of videos is less likely to be questioned. Additionally, videos allow you to show a more comprehensive view of the damages or surrounding area. You can also add verbal notes in a video to help you remember important details. Try to include as many details as you can. While the small details may be obvious to you now, you may easily forget them within a couple of months.
Swapping insurance information with all other drivers involved in the accident is usually a good idea. They may ask for a copy of your insurance card, and you should ask for the same. You might also take a photograph of their driver’s license and license plate so you can show proof later.
Car Accident Report
A copy of the car accident report is a must. The evidence of a car accident report is why it’s usually a good idea to contact the police after an accident, regardless of its severity. The local police will come out to the scene of an accident and create an official report. Some insurance companies may even require you to show proof of a police report when filing a claim.
Witness statements can also be helpful to a case. These are written statements from other drivers or pedestrians who may have witnessed what happened. You may write down their statement or direct them to the responding police officer so they can include it in the official police report. You can also request their contact information, including their name and phone number, to contact them later for a witness report. If you decide to work with a Chicago personal injury lawyer, they’ll track down the witness for an official report.
You may incur some costs right after the accident, including medical bills. If you’re taken to a nearby hospital, for example, by EMS, you’ll likely receive the medical bills in the mail. Keep track of these so you can calculate how much you spend in total. You may also need to submit these bills to your insurance company if you have medical coverage.
It’s also a good idea to keep a copy of all your medical records as they relate to the car accident. Keep the doctor’s note and discharge papers from the emergency room. Print out a hard copy of all medical reports from your primary physician or any specialist you might visit related to the accident.
Property damages are common in car accidents. Keep a copy of all vehicle repair bills or invoices, so you can calculate the value of the damages. Be sure to include any extra costs like roadside assistance or towing. Make sure to get photos of the damages before the tow truck takes your vehicle.
The most common costs after a car accident are medical bills and property damages, but you may also incur some other expenses. If your vehicle is in the repair shop and you don’t have another way to work, you may have to rent a car or rely on public transportation to get around. If you’re the primary caregiver for your children, you may incur childcare costs while you attend follow-up doctor’s appointments. Keeping track of all these extras is important since they can easily add up.
There’s no question that car accidents are stressful. While the first thing you should always do following a car accident is to seek necessary medical care, the next is to collect evidence. Some evidence is time-sensitive, meaning it won’t be available later. If you seek compensation for your damages, you’ll be glad you gathered this evidence.