What Information Do I Need to Obtain at the Scene of My Car Accident?
Auto accidents can be stressful and unnerving to say the least. Despite reading blogs, your insurer’s newsletter, or getting some friendly parental advice, one can never quite be fully prepared for them. So, the wreck happens and the drivers involved must do all they can for damage control to achieve the best possible outcomes in terms of insurance, damages recovery, police charges and reports, finances, health, and medical care. One major area where a driver’s actions or inactions can reap large rewards and have major consequences on the insurance claims process and resulting litigation is in the compilation of valuable and pertinent information at the scene of the auto accident.
What Specific Information Should a Driver Obtain Post-accident at the Scene?
There are several types of information a driver involved in a car accident should compile at the accident scene immediately after a crash. It is best to take notes manually, type into a laptop, tablet, or PDA, or digitally record a voice dictation of the information, rather than to rely on recall because too much is transpiring in a short period of time under chaotic circumstances.
A driver involved in an auto accident should obtain this information at the accident scene ASAP:
- Names of other drivers involved in the accident
- Contact information for other drivers involved
- License plate numbers of all vehicles involved in the accident
- Names of all passengers at the accident scene
- Names of all witnesses at the accident scene
- Addresses or contact information for all passengers
- Addresses or contact information for all witnesses
- Insurance information for all drivers involved in the accident
More information can be found about creating a post car-accident checklist.
What Other Information Should a Driver Obtain From the Accident Scene?
Beyond collecting the basic information listed above, a driver should attempt to obtain additional information and materials from the accident scene when possible. Try to take photos of the scene immediately after the crash. These pictures should capture all of the vehicles impacted by the auto accident; different locations, perspectives, and views of the accident scene; injuries of drivers, passengers, or pedestrians; and damaged items such as signs, trees, vehicles, buildings, fences, barricades, and curbs. It is prudent to capture and snap as many photos as possible from a variety of different vantage points and angles of the accident scene. This is helpful to the insurance claims process and any litigation that might ensue.
If you or someone you know has been involved in or injured by a car accident, it is wise to initially consult with a traffic and/or personal injury attorney as soon as possible.