If you’ve been in a car accident, the time immediately after the crash occurred is going to be critical to any claims you file for compensation. Understandably, that won’t be easy; the moments right after a crash can be confusing and scary, particularly if you’ve suffered a physical injury. At that point, you need to ensure you get the medical attention you need.
If you haven’t been seriously injured but your vehicle has sustained damage, you want to be able to preserve evidence that reinforces your version of the events leading up to the accident. You want to be able to show your insurance company that the accident happened exactly as you described it. You don’t want to rely solely on the memories of witnesses since their recollection of the accident can get fuzzy over time.
Preserving evidence at the scene is also important because it will help your personal injury lawyer make the strongest case possible for getting the full compensation you deserve and proving the liability of the other driver. Let’s review some of the key pieces of evidence that it’s important to preserve and document while you’re still at the accident scene.
What Evidence Needs to Be Preserved at a Car Accident Scene?
The evidence available to you at the accident scene will be the strongest you can present to your insurance company. Without taking a few moments to gather evidence at the scene, your case will then depend on the parties’ statements and their conflicting memories of what happened.
The objective evidence you gather will help to demonstrate the accuracy of your version of events. The right kind of evidence can be difficult to gather if it’s not collected immediately after the accident. Actions you should take immediately after an accident include:
Calling the Police
This is important because the police officer who responds to the scene can take your statements and those of witnesses, record their own observations and collect evidence, and then write an official accident report. That report will likely contain information critical to your case, such as the conditions of the road before the accident happened, and whether any violations of the law (such as speeding or distracted driving) may have contributed to it. While you don’t want to rely solely on the police report, it will be an important part of your case.
Taking Photos at the Scene
Photos of the accident scene can be very strong evidence, showing which direction the vehicles were traveling in, any debris around the cars, and what kind of damage your vehicle sustained. Use your mobile phone camera to snap photos of everything around you. It’s possible these photos can be used to show the point of impact, and which car struck the other vehicle.
Talking to Others at the Scene
Be certain to get information from the other driver, particularly if you want to show that individual was responsible for the accident. The information you’ll want to take includes:
- The driver’s name
- Their license number
- Their license plate number
- Make and model of the vehicle
- and their insurance information.
Be sure to be cooperative if the other driver asks you for the same information. Reach out to any witnesses at the scene, and get their contact information so your attorney can reach out to them in the future. There may be lots of details those witnesses can provide, and their testimony can help your attorney make your case to a claims adjuster. You can also ask witnesses if they’ll stay at the scene until police arrive. Also, don’t forget to look around the area and see if there are any businesses around that might have security cameras that could have recorded the accident.
Collecting evidence like this at the scene helps you document the actual damages or injuries that you sustained. Most importantly, this helps you defend yourself during the claims process. You definitely don’t want important information about the collision to be lost forever once crews have cleaned up the scene.
Experienced Louisiana Car Accident Lawyers Near You
One of the most important things you can do right after you’ve been in a car accident is to contact an experienced personal injury attorney. Your attorney will become your trusted partner and advocate, who will work to ensure you have the evidence needed for your insurance claim and that the insurance company doesn’t try to limit how much you receive.
In Louisiana, attorneys with E. Orum Young Law have decades of experience negotiating with insurers to reach fair settlements for their clients. E. Orum Young Law strives to handle all the complex legwork necessary to pursue a successful claim so you can focus on healing. We have more than 35 years of experience protecting Louisiana drivers and are ready to fight for you.