Getting into a car accident can be an incredibly stressful ordeal. Most people aren’t thinking straight in the aftermath, even if they haven’t suffered severe, life-threatening injuries. Unfortunately, that means they don’t always collect evidence immediately after the crash, which can negatively impact later car accident injury claims.
Many people assume that if the crash was caused by another driver, it should be on that person to deal with all of the aftermath, but in fact, the burden of proof in civil lawsuits falls on the person seeking damages. The same is true for insurance claims. That means collecting the proper evidence is essential. Read on to find out what’s required.
Evidence From the Accident Scene
The first thing anyone should do after a car accident is to check on all of the other people involved and call for paramedics if anyone is severely injured. After that, they should call the police and wait at the scene until an officer arrives. The issue here isn’t just that it’s illegal to leave the scene of a car accident but also that a police report is one of the most important forms of evidence that can be gathered from the accident scene.
If possible, it’s also helpful to take photos or videos of the road, the damage to the vehicle, and any visible injuries. These photos and videos can be used later to meet the burden of proof, as can witness statements. Gather information about the other drivers involved, including names, addresses, plate numbers, license numbers, and insurance information, plus contact information for any witnesses on the scene.
Evidence of Damages
A significant portion of the recovery associated with most car accident claims is related to vehicle damage. Claimants will be expected to provide not just photos of the damage from the accident scene if they’re available but also all records related to car repairs, including recent repairs or improvements that occurred before the accident, and car rentals required in the aftermath of the crash. Make a list of all relevant repairs, improvements, and rental costs and include receipts.
Damages don’t apply exclusively to vehicles. When people are injured in accidents, they can also recover damages for things like medical bills, lost wages, and non-economic damages. Evidence of injury-related damages can include photos of the injuries taken at the scene, information pertaining to healthcare appointments and bills, copies of medical records, diagnostic images, and more. To claim damages for lost wages, accident victims will also need to collect W-2s, pay stubs, and other evidence of financial harm.
Other Forms of Evidence
Some forms of evidence required to prove a car accident claim must be provided by the victim’s legal team. Testimony from expert witnesses is an excellent example, as are car accident interrogatories and depositions. Car accident attorneys are skilled at interviewing witnesses and gathering less obvious forms of evidence after the fact to support their clients’ claims.
Schedule a Consultation
The best time to hire an attorney is as soon as possible after an accident occurs. Everyone’s memories will be clearer, it will be easier to document medical bills and other damages, and the accident victim will be able to focus more on healing and less on legal bureaucracy. Anyone involved in an accident should take whatever evidence they already have and schedule a consultation with a lawyer.