One of the most common questions I come across is “what information should I have gotten following my auto accident?”. I have had people come to me that didn’t know where the accident took place at, only the date. Or they have the other party’s name, but no other information. This makes handling their claim much more challenging.
If your involved in an auto accident, follow these simple rules and it will make your life easier for the presentation of a claim if need be (and if you should need our services, our ability to handle your case much more efficiently too).
If its a serious car accident, the first thing you should do, if you are able, is call 911 for police and medical help. When everyone is out of danger, gather and write down as much information about the accident as you can:
(1) Names, driver’s license numbers, contact information (at least home address and phone number) and insurance information for all drivers. Ask to see and obtain their information from their driver’s licenses and registration. Verify with them that the information is correct.
(2) If any of the drivers appeared to be under the influence of alcohol or drugs, the effects you observed (such as slurred speech) and any witnesses to those effects. Witnesses are important because after any substances wear off, it will be your word against the driver’s.
(3) Names and contact information for all passengers, all pedestrians, and all witnesses who saw the accident. Don’t count on the police to obtain this information.
(4) Any and all statements you hear about the cause or consequences of the accident. Did anyone say, “I’m not hurt?” Did anyone take responsibility for the accident, even partially, by saying, “I wasn’t looking either,” “I was distracted,” “I wasn’t wearing my glasses,” “I spilled my coffee,” etc.
(5) Location, date, and time of the accident.
(6) A detailed description of the accident, including which direction the vehicles were going before the accident, the weather and related conditions (fog, rain, night, ice), what happened, any injuries, what was damaged, and what the police did, especially if they issued tickets or gave a sobriety test. Drawing a diagram can help clarify what happened.
(7) Any problems with vehicles not caused by the accident, such as bald tires or a burned out headlight.
(8) Contact information for police at the scene.
(9) Take pictures of the accident scene and the damage to the vehicles, preferable before they are moved from their places of rest following the incident. With cell phones having the ability to take photographs, this task it quite simple.
As time passes, memories tend to fade. When you are questioned later, you’ll be glad you obtained all the details at the scene.