Posted on: 15 September 2017
One of the biggest things that you can do to help yourself out after a car accident is to think ahead -- because you may just end up in a lawsuit. Even if you aren't the sort of person to run to an attorney right away, that doesn't mean that the other driver's insurance company is going to play fair. That means that it's just smart business to assume that every car accident is going to end in a lawsuit and act accordingly. If it doesn't -- you can be pleasantly surprised. If it does, you'll have all the necessary documentation to help bolster your claim at hand.
Here are 2 things you always want to have in the car in case of an accident:
1. A Notebook and a Pen
A notebook and a pen can be tremendously helpful in a car accident. Ideally, all of the other driver's important information is going to be on the paperwork that the officer called to the scene hands you, but sometimes -- especially in large jurisdictions during busy times -- officers can't come to a car accident unless there's an obvious injury involved. In that case, you need to take down all of the following information:
- The other driver's name, address, and phone number
- His or her insurance company, policy number, and the phone number of their customer service line or a local agent's number
- The license plate number, make, model and year of the other car
- The name of the street or intersection where the accident happened
- The time of day and the weather conditions
- The names and addresses of any passengers, witnesses that stopped, or Good Samaritans who helped
Even if the police are on the scene and you are given the rest of the information, jot down some quick notes about anything the other driver said or did after the accident. Did he or she say something like, "Where did you come from?" or "I didn't even see you!" when he or she first got out of the car? Did he or she curse at you? You never know what may become important down the line and -- while things may seem crystal clear right after the accident -- memories have a way of fading after the adrenaline rush is over.
2. Your Camera
More than likely, you own a cell phone with a camera that takes reasonably decent photos. Get it out and use it. You don't need to be secretive or even apologetic about taking the photos -- the other driver is free to take as many photos of the accident scene as he or she wants. If the other driver says anything, just shrug and say, "My insurance agent insists I have to do it."
Take photos of anything that could be important:
- Both cars -- paying particular attention to the damaged areas, including close-ups (if possible)
- Any debris that is on the street or on the ground from the accident or skid marks
- The traffic signs nearby
- The general traffic conditions (a couple of long shots showing how busy the road is around the time of the accident)
- A couple of shots of the sky (to show the weather conditions)
Again, these are things that may or may not be important -- but a driver could make repairs on a car and pound out a dent and swear it was never there. Stranger things have happened. If a driver claims that you never even tried to prevent the accident, those photos of the skid marks in the road can show that you did your best and help your credibility.
If you happen to be too injured after the accident to use either of these tools, see if a passenger can handle the task. Or, ask a witness or neighbor -- or even the police officer -- to take a few shots with your camera. Then jot down your notes in your notebook as soon as you're able while your memories are fresh.
For more advice, talk to a car accident attorney today.Share