A motor vehicle accident can be very frightening, but the moments following a crash are often critical parts of reporting a property loss or even a personal injury claim. With some simple steps, you can preserve evidence of what happened. These steps are especially critical if the accident results in a personal injury claim.
1. Call the Police
First, contact the police and ask that an officer come to the scene. The officer will create an official report. If there are witnesses around who saw what happened, ask them to stay and talk to the officer, as third-party witnesses can provide crucial and unbiased information about what really happened.
2. Take Pictures
With the popularity of smartphones, it is easy to take photos of the accident scene. Take lots of pictures, being sure to include:
- The exterior of all vehicles involved.
- The inside of your own car.
- Any personal items or other property damaged in the crash.
- Debris or markings caused by the accident. For example, you want to photograph skid marks that show whether one vehicle attempted to prevent the collision.
- Visible injuries you sustained, such as bruises and cuts.
3. Write Down Any Pertinent Information
- Conditions - On your phone or in a notepad, you should make notes of any conditions at the scene that could have contributed to the crash. For example, bad weather, wet or icy roads, or other conditions could have played a role.
- Witnesses - You also want to speak with anyone in the vicinity who witnessed the crash. Ask those people to stay and give a statement to the officer who arrives at the scene. If there is not enough time to get a full statement from a witness, but you should at least write down the each witness’s contact information in case you need to get in touch later, and provide that information to the officer.
- Exchanged Insurance Information - Do not leave the scene until you have exchanged current insurance and contact information with the other driver.
- Auto Insurance - Call your auto insurance and report the incident. If possible, take lots of pictures of the scene, as this evidence will help your insurance claim.
4. Call a Lawyer
If you were injured in an auto accident, you should contact an attorney who will protect your rights and help you deal with your and the other driver’s insurance companies. There are many traps for the unwary, and an experienced attorney will evaluate your claim and ensure that the insurance companies treat you fairly. If you were injured in a crash, call Klampe Law Firm for a free consultation.