Top Tips for Collecting Evidence at the Scene of an Accident
If you were injured in an accident that wasn’t your fault, the evidence you collect at the scene could be important in a personal injury case. Whether you are pursuing a case against another driver involved in the accident or you find yourself the subject of a case, well-documented evidence will be key in establishing who is at fault for the accident and thus liable for the injured party’s losses.
Based on The Benton Law Firm’s years of experience investigating and prosecuting personal injury cases, we will share a few tips for collecting valuable evidence at the scene of an accident.
Even so, you can only do so much. You need to focus on keeping yourself healthy and safe. An experienced accident lawyer can help fill in the gaps in evidence that you are unable to collect on your own.
Report the Accident to the Police
Immediately after an accident occurs, call the police to report the accident. They will dispatch an officer who will ensure everyone’s safety and then make an accident report. In their report, the officer will note detailed information about each of the individuals and vehicles involved in the accident, including their name, contact information, make and model of the vehicle, and vehicle registration. Furthermore, the officer will evaluate everyone’s condition. If they suspect one of the drivers is under the influence of drugs or alcohol, they can administer a sobriety test.
This accident report will be important evidence to use in your personal injury case, so make sure you get a copy of it. Your lawyer can help you with this.
Take Lots of Pictures and Video
Even though the police officer will likely take detailed notes about the accident, pictures and videos taken promptly after the accident are crucial evidence. Photograph each vehicle from all sides, any substantial damage to a vehicle, and any marks on the road leading up to the site of the accident that might provide clues as to how the accident occurred. Photograph any damage to surrounding property, such as road signs, guardrails, fences, sidewalks, buildings, etc.
Making of video of the entire accident setting can also help to capture factors like weather and other environmental conditions. Your lawyer may also be able to locate and access other video angles of the accident, such as the view from surveillance footage from local businesses or homeowners’ security cameras.
Write Down Everything as Soon as Possible
While the accident is fresh in your mind, write down exactly what happened in your own words. Include details about what was happening in the moments leading up to and just before the accident. To the best of your ability, record moment-by-moment how the accident played out. You will be better able to recollect these details immediately after the accident happens, so do not delay in recording your memories.
Before you leave the scene of the accident, write down the full name, contact information, and insurance information of all drivers involved in the accident, as well as the name and contact information of any passengers and bystanders who may have witnessed the accident. Also, write down the license plate of the vehicles involved. This information can be useful to your attorney during their investigation.
Be Careful What You Do and Say
Above all, look out for your own safety and the safety of those in the vicinity of the accident. If the scene seems unsafe, do not proceed with gathering evidence. If the responding police officer gives you instructions to protect you and others at the scene, be sure to follow them.
Be wary of saying or doing anything that might hurt your case. For example, do not talk to the other driver about the accident. Something you say could be construed as an admission of guilt. Stick to a straightforward exchange of information.
Furthermore, do not sign anything without a lawyer reviewing it first. Whether it’s a report about the accident that may have been influenced by the other driver or a document from an insurance company trying to pressure you into a settlement, ask for an experienced car accident lawyer to review it before you sign it.
Contact an Accident Lawyer at The Benton Law Firm
After you have collected evidence, contact an experienced car accident attorney from The Benton Law Firm to help you the rest of the way. We will analyze the evidence, investigate further to fill in any gaps in the evidence, and determine the most advantageous legal approach in your case. Contact us today at (214) 777-7777 to speak with one of our Dallas car accident attorneys about how we can help you pursue the compensation you deserve.