A car accident is often a stressful, chaotic event, with both short and long-term effects. The immediate aftermath of an accident is likely to be filled with confusion and panic. It may be difficult to determine exactly what happened, or who caused the accident, in those initial minutes after the accident.
After the initial shock wears off, and you start to think clearly again, you can begin assessing the damage. If you’ve sustained any injuries requiring medical treatment, or any damage to your car, you may wonder if you have any basis for a personal injury claim and what evidence should be collected.
The first thing you should do after an accident is ask for a copy of the police report. Police are often the first people on the scene of an accident, and their report may contain critical information that could affect the type and amount of compensation that could be available.
Many times, car accidents occur around pedestrians or other drivers. Any of those people are potential eyewitnesses who could have valuable testimony that can be used as evidence. Eyewitness accounts are not always credible, so make sure any eyewitnesses had a clear view of the accident from beginning to end and were not distracted or under the influence of any drugs or alcohol.
If possible, take pictures of the accident scene while you are still there. Take pictures of all vehicles involved, the overall accident scene and any visible injuries. Weather may sometimes play a role in what caused an accident, so if it was a rainy or snowy day, pictures of the weather conditions may help.
If you were injured and need medical treatment, ask for a copy of any medical records for treatment you received due to the accident. Even if you don’t believe you are injured, it is a good idea to visit a doctor for a full medical examination. A doctor may discover injuries that may not be immediately obvious.
Keeping a detailed journal of your physical and mental health and any doctor appointments after the accident is recommended. If you pursue a claim for compensation, you may be asked to recall specific dates, symptoms or treatments during testimony, and a journal will help you refresh your memory.
These are just a few examples of ways to collect and save evidence after a car accident. A trusted attorney can help with using this evidence to help you in your pursuit of compensation.