Here we will go over the steps one should take when documenting damage after an auto accident.
The information below will ensure that any insurance claims and lawsuits have the crucial details needed for the best outcome possible.
Let’s jump right in.
Check for injuries and move to a safe location
When an accident occurs, you first check yourself, your passengers, and the other driver and their passengers for any injuries. If everyone is ok, you should see if your vehicle is driveable and move it to a safe location.
If anyone is injured, an ambulance should be called immediately.
Calling an ambulance at first sight of an injury will not only preserve your health but also strengthen the validity of your auto claim.
Call the police and make a report
After all parties involved are determined to be safe, the police need to be contacted, and a police report must be filed.
When officers arrive on the scene, they will ensure that no drugs or alcohol were involved and file an extensive report. This police report will include all damage, driver statements, witness statements, and the location.
Without a police report, filing a claim and winning a lawsuit could become problematic.
Take notes and photos
After the police have been called, you should take notes and photos while waiting.
Your notes should explain what caused the collision, what type of damage is visible on both vehicles, and the accident’s date, time, and location.
Photos should include:
- Damage to your vehicle
- Damage to the other driver’s vehicle
- Any damage that was done to any surroundings like light posts or guard rails
- Any exterior debris like glass
- The driver’s license plate
- The general location
Trade personal information
To file an insurance claim and a possible lawsuit, you must have the other driver’s personal information. You will need their name, address, phone number, ID number, license plate number, and insurance information.
Look for witnesses
When an auto collision occurs, there is often a dispute between parties of who was at fault. To avoid any confusion or issues with your claim, seek out witnesses and ask if they are willing to make an official statement to authorities, insurance companies, or lawyers. If the witnesses agree, be sure to take note of their name and phone number. Having witness statements can help you win your claim if you were not at fault.
Call an attorney
After documenting all damage, filing a report, and speaking to witnesses, you will want to call a car accident lawyer.
An attorney should be contacted before contacting your insurance company as they may want to help you file the claim.
A car accident attorney will help in the following ways:
- Guide you through making a claim
- Prove the negligence of the person at fault
- Go over the crash report for essential details
- Create an evidence file of all supporting documentation
- Determine the monetary value of your claim
- Work with the insurance companies to come to a settlement amount
Insurance companies will work hard to ensure that they give out the least amount of money possible; an attorney will ensure that your claim payout is fair.
After speaking with an attorney, they will tell you what to say to the insurance agency or possibly file the claim with you.
Insurance agencies require that claims be filed within thirty days of the accident. However, it is suggested that a claim be filed within the first few days.
Keep documentation from any doctors visits
If any person involved in the accident did have an injury, it is vital to record all doctor appointments, treatment, and bills that accrued. These hospital and doctor records are crucial for winning an injury claim.
All receipts need to be saved if any money was spent on vehicle repairs after the accident. Having proof of repairs will ensure that the guilty party reimburses damage costs.
After an accident, thoroughly documenting the scene, damage, and other driver’s personal information is a must. In addition, an attorney should be contacted before calling your insurance agency. Lastly, keep a record of all medical appointments, bills, treatment, and any funds put into vehicle repairs.
Above all else, make sure that every person involved in the accident is safe before doing anything.
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