When possible, accident victims should immediately document as much information as they can without jeopardizing their and their passengers’ health and safety. Otherwise, it is easy to forget important information that may be helpful to their auto accident attorney if they choose to file a personal injury claim.
Remember Safety First
The first moments after an auto accident could be chaotic. It is important for a driver, if they are not severely injured to assess if any of their passengers are injured. They should not assume someone has called 911; therefore, they should make the call to report the accident and any injuries.
Both drivers should exchange information at the scene. This helps when reporting the accident to their respective insurers and should include:
- Name and contact information
- Name of insurer and policy number
- Driver’s license number
- License plate number
- Vehicle type, model, and color
- Location where the accident occurred
It is important for a driver in an accident to never discuss who is at fault. The police may issue tickets based on who they believe caused the accident. The insurance adjusters who review the accident claim will review the police report, any photos, statements of drivers and passengers, and inspect the damaged vehicles.
Documenting the Accident
Drivers should protect themselves by documenting as much information as they can, because not everything ends up on the police report. The names and the badge numbers of the officers responding to the accident should be written down. Being an accident report is not issued on the spot, drivers will need to ask where and when they can get a copy of the report because it will be needed by their insurer and auto accident attorney if a personal injury claim is filed.
It is a good idea to take photos of the accident from different angles that show the damage to both cars. Insurers may want to see photos during the claims process.
Information from witnesses can help support an injury claim. Therefore, it is essential to write down the names and contact information of witnesses to the accident so that they can be reached if a statement is needed later.
If the driver or any passengers are injured, medical records and any bills for treatment should be saved to be used as evidence in a personal injury claim. Any time that is missed from work because of accident injuries should also be documented so these damage can also be recouped.