Besides being a huge inconvenience, car accidents can also leave you mentally and emotionally shaken up. In the chaotic aftermath of an accident, it can be easy to forget that you’ll soon need to deal with the insurance company and determine who’s at fault. When it comes to compensation for both property damage and personal injury, evidence is a necessity. People will say anything to avoid being held liable for an accident. Having concrete proof of the at-fault party’s negligence will only serve to strengthen your personal injury claim.
After an accident, don’t forget to gather these five types of evidence.
If there were any eyewitnesses to the accident, it’s always best to get their contact information as soon as possible. Of course, it’s best to get these details at the scene of the accident, but you may be able to locate the witnesses after the fact. For example, if one of the witnesses is an employee of a store in the vicinity of the accident, you can visit the store and ask if they would be willing to provide a statement. Your personal injury attorney can assist with locating witnesses and collecting statements from them.
Whenever possible, we recommend you take photos of the scene of the accident before the vehicles are moved. This would include photos of the intersection, the roadway, and any elements in the roadway that may have contributed to the accident. Photos can provide valuable evidence of who is responsible for the accident. Pictures also show the extent of the damage to the vehicles, so the other party can’t attempt to include subsequent vehicular damage in the claim. Try to get photos from various angles to make it easy to see how the accident was caused and who is at fault. In addition to photos of the exterior damage, try to capture images of interior damage, such as the airbag being deployed or shattered glass on the inside of the vehicle. If the other vehicle has a dashcam, be sure to get a photo of it. It’s not uncommon for people to hide dashcam footage when they know they caused an accident.
Have a look at the buildings in the vicinity of the scene of the accident. If you notice any security cameras, it can be very helpful to obtain a copy of the footage. Be sure to have the date and time of the accident handy. Even if you don’t see a camera, it’s always a good idea to ask, just in case there are cameras you couldn’t spot. Visit all the business places near the accident. It’s important to do this as soon as possible after the accident, or else you risk the footage being deleted or overwritten. An attorney and their investigative team can handle this process while you are recovering for your injuries, but it is important to get help from an attorney immediately, so they have time to try to gather video evidence before it is lost or destroyed.
Take pictures of the injuries sustained by all passengers as soon as possible after the accident. Cuts and bruises will heal over time, and you’ll want to have visual proof of how badly you were injured in the accident. Continue taking photographs of your injuries as you heal to help your lawyers, injury adjusters, and potential jurors understand how the incident impacted you and what your recovery time was like.
These days, many cars are equipped with dashcams. These devices begin recording as soon as you switch on your vehicle. Dashcam footage is immensely helpful for settling insurance claims and personal injury lawsuits. If you had a dashcam that recorded the accident, export the footage on an external drive as soon as possible. Other cars in the vicinity may have cameras that captured the accident, so it’s worth checking with any nearby drivers if you are able to do so safely.
If the at-fault party has a dashcam, make a note of this. Be sure to ask them to protect the footage. Better yet, retain a lawyer immediately, so they can demand preservation of this critical evidence. By making it known that you saw the dashcam, you’re making it harder for them to hide any footage that may not be in their favor.
First, an injury lawyer can handle much of the process of gathering evidence on your behalf, so you can focus on your recovery. If you’ve already gathered your evidence, you may be wondering if you can pursue a claim without an attorney. While in some cases injured parties may be able to obtain a similar settlement on their own, hiring an experienced injury lawyer significantly increases your chances of receiving the compensation you truly deserve. The insurance company has teams of lawyers protecting their interests, so it’s always advisable to have legal representation too. Many claimants who handle claims on their own are bullied, taken advantage of, or shortchanged during negotiations.
Our experienced team can help you maximize your recovery. We make it our top priority to advocate for the best possible outcome and the highest possible award. We operate on a contingency fee basis, which means that you pay no fees unless we win. Schedule your free consultation to get started.