Collecting Evidence After an Accident
After a car accident, you may have other things on your mind than any future insurance claims or lawsuits. However, you or someone else should still pay attention to a few details. Your insurance claim could rest on some important information that is only available at the time of the accident. If you can’t do it right away, you can still get some of the things you need later, but you can also have someone gather the things you need at the scene.
Evidence You Need
You should consult with an attorney after your accident. They can review your case with you and help you determine who was at fault for the crash. Once you know that, they can help you file your insurance claim.
Your claim application will require particular information to be included to the insurance company can process the claim. If any of that is missing, at best, your claim will be sent back. At worst, it will be denied. Those necessary pieces of evidence may include:
Police and paramedic reports. At the time of the accident, you will be given a report number. This number is what you can use to obtain the police report on the accident, which is usually available in 10-15 business days. It’s important to get that report because it will have the other driver’s information, any witness information, and the officer’s statement and map. If there was a paramedic or fire report, it would have the same report number, and you should get their reports as well.
Depending on where the accident occurs, there may be more than one agency responding. For instance, if the accident takes place in a residential area, the city police may respond, but you could also have the state police respond, especially if alcohol is involved. The paramedics could come from the city or county fire department, but a private ambulance could transport you. You should try to get everyone’s reports if you can.
Photos and videos. Now that everyone has a cell phone, we can take instant photos of everything that happens, including our own accidents. If you are able, you should get photos of your car and the other car before they are moved away from the accident site. If you can’t, have someone at the scene use your phone to take those photos. You should try to get a good shot of the other car’s license number if you can.
If you can get videos of the surrounding area at the time of the accident, showing lighting, weather conditions, and any visual impediments or other conditions, that will help as well. For instance, if the accident happened at night in the rain, you would want video documenting that.
Witness names and information. You should not worry whether all the looky-loos and gawkers saw anything. Your attorney can determine whether anyone else who was involved or saw the crash would make good witnesses. If anyone at the scene will provide their name and address, you should get that information.
ER documents and bills. Any treatment information is also evidence since it shows the nature and extent of your injuries. This is the kind of information that will need to be sent to the insurance companies. Once you have received anything from the ER, you should set it aside to give to your attorney so they can send the information to the insurers. Remember that in most hospitals, the doctors and specialists (radiologists, anesthesiologists, and others) often bill separately from the hospital, and these bills may arrive separately.
How We Can Help
Once you have all this documentation, you may be uncertain what to do with it. Some of it goes straight to the insurance company so they can process your claim, but some of it you should keep in case the claim is denied or their offer is insufficient.
Your best option is to have a legal professional review the claim form and help you determine what needs to be sent. If medical reports and witness statements will help support your claim, your attorney will let you know which reports are required.
If the insurance company has already offered a settlement, see an attorney before signing or accepting any offer. Remember, it is in their best interest to give you the smallest amount of money possible, and what seems reasonable to you may not be the compensation you deserve.
If you have been involved in any kind of accident that wasn’t your fault and are not sure how best to proceed, contact the Lake Charles car accident lawyers of Veron, Bice, Palermo & Wilson, LLC at 337-800-8800. Let us help you get the evidence you need and file your claim for the compensation you deserve.