Auto Accidents, Part Two Making Your Case – At the Scene

Aug 8, 2022 | Auto Accidents

Picking up where we left off in “Part One – Do the First Things First”, it’s time to consider what information you need to collect at the accident scene or soon after to assist in filing your personal injury case.

Five Important Things to Document

1.Record information about the At-Fault driver, occupants of the other vehicle(s) and any witnesses.

Get the names and addresses of all the drivers involved in the accident as well as the other occupants. You may ask to see each person’s license to verify the information they give you.

Obtain the name(s) of any witness(es) to the accident and contact information. The police may not record this information in the accident report, but it could be useful later.

Note and record the registration for the vehicles involved and a description of each vehicle (year, color, make and model). Also, take note of the actual owner of the vehicle(s) as it may not be the driver.

Write down or photograph the Insurance information for the driver and/or owner of the vehicle(s).

2.Take Photographs and/or Video of the Damaged Vehicles and the Crash Scene.

Photographs are the best way to demonstrate to a jury the force of a collision and the likely trauma experienced. Photos can establish road conditions, weather, obstructions and the location of signs or traffic control devices. Moreover, photographs help reconstruct the accident and show the layout of the intersection or roadway.

Sometimes you are unable to take photos at the scene. If this happens, send someone to the tow yard, repair shop or other location of damaged vehicles to get after accident photos. The time to do this can be short because the vehicle could be repaired, sold or salvaged within days of the crash.

Finally, revisit the crash site the next day for detailed photos of skid marks, furrows, crash debris, signage, vegetation, road defects, construction, etc.

3. Find out if the At-Fault Driver was working at the time of the accident as their employer may share liability for the accident.

Was the vehicle a work vehicle? If so, and it has company information on the exterior, include this in the photographs taken. Get the company name, phone number and owner (if possible). Note: If you are on the job at the time of the crash, you must report the accident to your employer within 30 days. You may be entitled to worker’s compensation.

4.Notice the condition of the At-Fault driver.

Are there indications that the At-Fault Driver is impaired by alcohol or other substances? Look for blood-shot eyes, slurred speech, belligerent behavior, difficulty standing or walking. Observe whether there is the smell of alcohol coming from the driver’s vehicle, breath or clothes. If you notice any of these things, bring them to the attention of the responding police officers.

5.Document any visible injuries you or your occupant(s) received with photographs.

Start from the moment you or your occupant are taken to the hospital and continue throughout the period of recovery. If there are serious lacerations, burns or bruises, focus on these before they heal. This is the best way to show a jury the nature of injuries sustained and the discomfort experienced as a result of the crash.

Remember: Do not make any admissions about fault to the other driver(s) or the police officers, and if the media is present, don’t make any statements.

In “Part Three, Making Your Case – In the Days Following a Crash”, we will review what to expect and what to do in the days following your accident.


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