The minutes following an auto accident are chaotic and stressful. Most people report feeling lost, like they weren’t sure what to do right after the accident. Of course, your first priority is making sure that you and those involved are okay, or are getting help. Next, call 911 to report the accident, and request assistance. But then what?
Most people will tell you to collect contact and insurance information from other parties involved. While this is an important step, there is something else that can be beneficial to when it comes time to file an insurance claim, or if you file a personal injury lawsuit. Photographs.
Photograph the accident scene as soon as you are able. Get as much detail about the scene, location, and condition of people and property involved. If you are able, make sure to photo-document:
· Your vehicle and any damage
· Any other vehicles or structures and any damage
· The accident site (photograph the intersection, parking lot, etc.)
· Any debris or skid marks left at the scene
· The condition of any traffic signs or signals
· Environmental or weather conditions
· Any visible injuries that you have
· If other parties consent, any visible injuries they have
Taking a variety of photos and documenting the entire scene can be beneficial if an insurance company contests your claim. If you are injured and are pursuing a personal injury lawsuit, these photos can also help prove your claim. The photos can serve as evidence during negotiations, or if your case goes to trial.