If you’ve ever wished you had a receipt that you threw away too soon, or regretted not getting in writing something that a contractor promised to do, then you probably already understand how critical it is to have documents in order to prove your case. Documentation is especially important in serious injury claims after a car accident.
Documenting and preserving the evidence are among the most helpful tasks you can undertake after a crash, strengthening your claim and heading off confusion. An experienced personal injury attorney can help you in your quest for justice, but there’s a lot you can do on your own in the minutes and hours after the incident to help your case. Here are the most important steps.
After you’ve checked for injuries and called 911, the next thing to do, if you’re able, is to take photos of the scene, the injuries, and damaged vehicles. You don’t need a fancy digital camera; a smart phone with a flash will do. Take more pictures than you think you’ll need, from various distances, with flash and without. Zoom in for detail and go wide for context. Hold the camera or phone steady to avoid blurring the image.
If you can’t photograph the scene right away, return at the same time of day the crash happened to shoot relevant features — whether there was construction or a hazard of some kind, whether the traffic lights appear to be working. Use the time and date stamp function to document when the photos were taken. If necessary, use some familiar object, such as car keys or a glove, to give a sense of scale to what the photo depicts.
TALK TO WITNESSES
Get contact info of all motorists involved in the crash and others who may have seen some aspect of the incident. If possible, get brief written accounts stating simply what they saw or heard. Memories often can get dim on important details before a case gets to trial, so it’s important to preserve witness accounts while they’re still fresh.
What did you see, hear, and do? What did others say to you? Was anyone acting strangely after the crash — for example, trying to leave the scene or switching positions in their vehicle? Putting important details on paper helps protect your case from your own possible memory lapses. Continuing the process through subsequent dealings with insurers, medical personnel, car repair shops, and others can provide running documentation of your case as it develops.
DOCUMENT YOUR INJURIES
Seeking medical help in the immediate aftermath of a crash is important for several reasons. Being conscientious about your treatment plan, including being consistent in keeping appointments and saving and organizing bills and medical evaluations, are essential steps in getting back on your feet and reinforcing your claim.
THE CAR ACCIDENT LAWYERS AT FDAZAR
For more than thirty years the attorneys at Franklin D. Azar & Associates have helped thousands of injured people obtain complete and timely compensation for their losses. Our proven track record and expertise have allowed us to grow into the largest personal-injury law firm in Colorado, with offices in Denver, Aurora, Thornton, Fort Collins, Greeley, Grand Junction, Colorado Springs, and Pueblo. If you’ve been injured in a bus, car, truck, or motorcycle accident, you may be entitled to compensation. Please call the car accident attorneys at FDAzar day or night at 800-716-9032 or contact us here for a free consultation and no-obligation evaluation of your case.