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Personal Injury 101: Documenting Information Vital to Your Claim
Benjamin Kline, Esq. Mar 22, 2021 12:00:00 AM
Getting into a car accident is often abrupt, shocking, and stressful. After checking on the safety of everyone involved, you may find yourself driving away from the scene just happy to have avoided something much worse than you did. But leaving the scene of an accident without first gathering certain vital information can hinder your future claims and needlessly delay your financial recovery.
The following is a list of information that you should try to gather and take note of before leaving the scene of an accident:
Location of the accident
This may seem like a no-brainer, but a surprising number of accident victims do not recall exactly where their accident occurred. While knowing the general location of the accident is helpful, knowing the specific location is valuable for establishing who was at fault for the accident based on traffic controls or speed limits in the area. This knowledge will also assist our investigators to determine if any video footage of the accident was captured on nearby cameras.
Time and date of the accident
Similar to location, knowing the exact time and date of an accident will help your attorney locate potential video evidence documenting your accident. Knowing the date of your accident can also establish insurance coverage and a timeline for your medical treatment.
Police report number (if available)
For accidents with property damage or injury, it is best practice to call 911 and wait at the scene for a police officer to make an accident report. That report will play a key role in establishing a contemporaneous fact record of the accident. It is important to make sure you speak with the officer to tell your side of the story and confirm that your name and all passengers’ names are included on the police report. A police report with complete and accurate information will do a better job of supporting your claim. Likewise, having the report number on hand will make it easier for your attorney to obtain a copy.
The name and number of any witnesses
Sometimes bystanders will witness an accident and approach the scene to communicate what they saw. Their testimony may help prove your case at a later date, but witnesses are typically strangers and are notoriously hard to track down. Their memories will also fade. It is therefore critical that you take note of their name and a good contact number where they can be reached.
Detailed description and pictures of damages, injuries, and how the accident happened
In the immediate aftermath of an accident it may seem like you will never forget what parts of your body hurt, who was at fault, or what damages were caused. Unfortunately, all too often this information becomes hazy with time. Taking pictures of property damage, injuries, weather conditions, and even the location of vehicles relative to each other or the road can be extremely helpful tools when proving your case.
The reality is that documenting all aspects of a car accident will be a major benefit to your case. The more that can be established with evidence from the scene, the more difficult it becomes for the insurance companies to avoid paying you what you are entitled under the law. If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident, please call our office at 651-493-0426 to schedule a free consultation with one of our experienced personal injury attorneys, and get your rightful compensation.