The steps you take after a motor vehicle accident may help or hurt your legal case. How should you document the scene to build your legal claim?
AARP explains what information to gather after a car collision and how to document the scene. Learn how to paint a picture of what happened to hold the at-fault party accountable.
Essential information to collect
Once you check yourself and others for injuries, collect information at the crash site. Use your phone to snap images of all vehicles involved in the accident, license plates, vehicle makes and models, nearby street signs and traffic lights, the weather, skid marks and nearby debris.
If anyone saw the accident, ask for a written or verbal witness statement. Note the person’s name and contact information, in case you have follow-up questions. Also, write the names and contact information of everyone involved in the collision, including insurance information and driver’s license numbers.
Scene details to document
Once you collect all essential information, the next step is to “tell the story” of the accident. This requires taking pictures, video and voice memos. Note the type and location of damage to all vehicles involved in the collision. It helps to take images from various angles and close-up and faraway pictures. Note the time and day the collision happened, and document all property damage the accident caused.
Write street names and the directions in which cars traveled. Record yourself detailing the events leading up to the accident and what you remember happening during the accident, too.
Try to gather more information than you think you need after a car collision. You never know when what seems like an unimportant detail could strengthen your claim for fair damages.