Preserving Evidence Following an Auto Accident
I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento Car Accident Lawyer. Even a minor car crash is likely to rattle any driver, but how they handle the situation immediately following the auto accident could significantly influence what lies ahead.
If you are ever involved in an auto accident, you should be aware of the steps you can take to preserve evidence. However, before you start documenting and preserving evidence, it is vital that everyone involved in the accident first receives medical attention.
Importance of Preserving Evidence
It is vital to document and preserve evidence because it will help ensure that you subsequently obtain the maximum possible compensation for any physical injury and damage to property. The ideal time to start the process of preserving evidence is right after the auto accident, once everyone involved has received medical attention.
At this time, some key elements of process would be directly accessible, and the details of the car accident would still be fresh in your memory.
The police would generally arrive at the scene of the car accident, unless no injuries have occurred or the damages that did happen do not exceed a specific amount of money. However, in case the police do not visit the car accident site, you may file a report by visiting the police department.
In order to complete the report, the police officer will ask certain questions pertaining to the auto accident from you and the other involved party. They will also record their own observations at the same time.
A police report could be one of the key factors with regard to:
- Filing a claim for insurance
- Obtaining compensation more quickly
- Enabling your injury lawyer to make a better case
Therefore, you must remember to get a copy of your Sacramento accident report. The police department or the responding officer will be able to guide you about how to obtain a copy of the report.
Although a police report would typically include testimonies of witnesses, it is always advisable to obtain these testimonies by your own initiative. Witness testimonies would usually include the name, address, and phone number of the witness and their personal account of how the accident occurred.
However, it is not necessary that a witness testimony would always have credibility. Your witness testimony may be discredited on the following grounds:
- The witness was not ideally located to have a clear view of the whole accident
- The witness could not observe the complete accident from when it started to when it ended
- The witness was potentially distracted by something, such as by carrying a baby or walking a dog
- The witness suffers from poor hearing or eyesight, or has a weak memory
- The witness was intoxicated when the accident occurred
Any criminal record or reputation of dishonesty of the witness may also impact the credibility of their testimony.
Photographs are an excellent way to document evidence following a car crash. In particular, photos of the physical injuries and property damage should be taken, even if only you were involved in the accident.
Following an auto accident, you should photograph:
- Every injury that is immediately visible
- Damages to your and the other party’s vehicles
- Damages to another individual’s property
- The complete scene of the accident
Additionally, you should also photograph anything that could have contributed to the auto accident, such as:
- Road debris, fallen trees, potholes, or other such road hazards
- Hazardous weather condition, such as ice, snow, or mud holes
- Out-of-order or damaged traffic lights or road signs
Take multiple photographs from different angles. Use your cell phone to take the photos, but print them later to cover the risk of losing phone data. Back the date up using the cloud and/or a separate USB storage device.
Make Your Own Notes
It is an astute idea to make your own notes detailing the accident, in addition to the reports of the police and the DMV, if any. While this need not be a formal document, it will allow you to have every minor detail on record. Some memories of the accident may surface once you have returned to your home. These notes could prove useful as your claim or your case in the court moves forward.
All this information should be in a digital file and/or a paper file that you set up for yourself and continue to maintain.
Copies of Medical Records
Apart from the photographs of the initial, visible injuries, it is pivotal to retain a copy of each of your medical records after the accident. This should include records of any hospital visit that you made immediately after the accident as well as records of every other medical visit you made for every injury.
Related Content by Sacramento Car Accident Lawyer, Ed Smith:
- Too Drunk to Drive
- Cell Phones Increase Injuries on the Road and in the Streets
- Role of Distracted Driving in Car Crashes
- Overview of a Wrongful Death Claim
Car Accident Lawyer in Sacramento
I’m Ed Smith, a Car Accident Lawyer in Sacramento. When you or your loved ones are involved in an accident, your focus should be on healing- not dealing with insurance companies. If you need the help of an experienced attorney to file a personal injury or wrongful death claim, please do not hesitate to reach out to me at (916) 921-6400 or (800) 404-5400 for compassionate, free and friendly advice. I can also be reached online at your convenience via AutoAccident.com.
I have served the Sacramento and Northern California community since 1982, helping injured people and families obtain recoveries. Review some of my past clients’ comments posted on: Google, Avvo, and Yelp.
The Million Dollar Forum is an organization reserved for trial attorneys who have won case verdicts and settlement awards in excess of one million dollars. Browse a selection of some of my previous Settlements and Verdicts on my website, AutoAccident.com.