One of the best ways to ensure your legal success when managing a motor vehicle accident claim is to quickly and properly collect evidence. But, what evidence will help to bolster your case? Here, the personal injury attorneys at Murnane O’Neill explain what evidence you should have for your auto accident negligence claim.
Contact and Insurance Information of the Other Driver
This should be the first piece of evidence you collect. Exchange information with the other driver, being sure to get their name, address, license plate, phone number or email address, insurance information and make, model and year of their car. Do not rely on the police to provide this information to you in the form of an accident report. In most cases, an accident report is not generated. In order to pursue a claim against the other driver you will need their name and address at a minimum. Preferably, get their insurance information and policy number as well. Do not leave the scene without this information. The insurance company will ask you for this information when you make your initial claim.
Photos and Video of the Scene of the Accident
Pictures and video detailing the scene of your accident and the other vehicle are incredibly valuable, allowing your attorney and the insurance adjuster, and potentially a judge or jury, to correctly ascertain who is at fault. If you are in a condition that allows you to use your phone or a camera immediately after your accident, take multiple photos from a variety of angles and distances. Do not limit the photos to close up photos of property damage. Provide the viewer with an idea of the position of both vehicles. This is especially important if there is a dispute over who is at fault. A judge or jury should be able to understand the location of each vehicle within the roadway without having to piece together multiple photos. Visually document skid marks, the location of the accident, stop signs, lights and any other components of the scene that help to explain how the accident took place. If the other driver claims they were unable to see from where they were positioned, but you know this to not be true, take a picture from their point of view. Recording video may also be valuable if the other driver becomes aggressive or physically violent—although it is critical to keep your safety foremost in your mind, and call 911 immediately. A thorough documentation of the scene may be one of the most critical pieces of evidence you can collect.
Photos and Video of Property Damage
Visual documentation of the damage you and your property have sustained is also key. Take photos of any damage done to your car, yourself and surrounding property. If damage was done to the other vehicle, take pictures of that as well. Make sure to take pictures and videos that include close-up and far away shots, in order to fully catalogue the extent of the damage.
Police Reports and Medical Reports
It is always advisable to call 911 when you have been involved in a motor vehicle accident. This not only allows you to receive medical attention more rapidly, but also ensures that the police can arrive on the scene of your accident, in order to generate a police report or an exchange of information report. The police report will contain detailed information explaining the scene of the accident, and often the attending officer will record their conclusion of how the accident occurred. However, often times such a report is not generated. Therefore it is crucial that you get the other driver’s information, take photos of the positions of each vehicle, and note the specific location of the accident.
If you receive medical attention, it is important to detail how you were feeling prior to the motor vehicle accident and after the accident. A doctor’s report will document the extent of any injuries you sustain, as well as any treatment you require. This will be another report that an insurance adjuster, as well as your attorney, will need to see to understand the extent of your medical costs and injury. While not an official report, keeping a journal documenting the extent of your injuries and day-to-day pain can help your attorney to better represent you when determining what an adequate settlement would entail. It is important to keep in mind that insurance companies will frequently look through your social media to see if an injured person’s complaints conflict with their recent activities and photo posts.
The Personal Injury Attorneys at Murnane & O’Neill Want to help You Create a Strong Auto Accident Claim
The evidence you do and do not collect at the time of your auto accident can dictate how successful your claim is. If you or a loved one has been involved in an auto accident, contact Murnane & O’Neill today for a free consultation.