The Importance of Collecting Evidence After a Car Accident

Motor vehicle accidents are scary, and it can be hard to know what to do when one happens.  Of course, the most important thing to think about after an accident is your safety and that of those around you.  That means attending to injuries and getting vehicles moved safely off the roadway, where possible.  Once that is taken care of, however, it can also be important to think about collecting evidence – unfortunately, if the accident was caused by the negligence of someone else, you may have to bring a lawsuit in order to be made whole for your injuries.

Thus, if you are in a motor vehicle accident (assuming you are physically able to move around and it’s safe to do so), you should start collecting evidence. You’ll want to document the damage the accident caused, your injuries, what the overall scene looks like, and anything else that can help show how the accident happened. If you later decide to file a claim or a lawsuit, the car accident evidence you gather at the scene will play an important role in proving your case.

What Kinds of Car Accident Evidence Should You Collect?

You should collect evidence to support your claims that another driver was at fault, or to defend claims that you caused an accident, as well as to show that you were harmed physically or economically by the crash. That could include various types of evidence, described below.  

Police Report

You should call the police immediately after a motor vehicle accident.  In Maine, you must report an accident that takes place on a public road if someone was injured or killed, or if the property damage appears to be at least $2,000. The responding officer will prepare a police report, and you can request a copy later. This is likely to be an important piece of evidence in your case. 

Contact Information of Witnesses

If there are any eyewitnesses to the accident, get their names and contact information. The witnesses may be valuable later to provide testimony about what they saw.

The Other Driver’s Information

You should exchange insurance and contact information with the other driver (or drivers, if multiple vehicles were involved in the accident). 

Evidence of Your Injuries

If possible, take photographs of your injuries. You should also seek medical attention as soon as possible, both for the sake of getting quick treatment and to have a doctor or other medical professional document your injuries.

The Accident Scene

Take photographs and/or videos to capture the details of the accident scene. Using your phone is fine. Try to get pictures of: 

  • The damage to your car and all the other vehicles that were involved
  • License plate numbers
  • Multiple photos of the overall accident scene, shot from different angles and distances, show the positions of the vehicles
  • Any skid marks or other disturbances on the road
  • Road conditions
  • Traffic lights, stop signs, and any other signs
  • Anything you notice about the other driver’s vehicle which may be relevant to the crash (i.e., a missing headlight or taillight or evidence of alcohol or drugs).

How Car Accident Evidence Can Help in a Personal Injury Case

If the other driver’s negligence caused or contributed to the accident, you can seek compensation for your injuries from the driver by filing a personal injury claim or lawsuit. The evidence you collect at the scene will support your claim and strengthen your case. If your case goes to court, the evidence will be crucial to meet a more formal standard of proof.

Your lawyer will use the car accident evidence you collected to:

  1. Show that the other driver was negligent, that the negligence was a cause of the accident, and that the accident caused your injuries
  2. Show the extent of your injuries and the damage to your car that you should be compensated for

Although it’s possible and sometimes helpful to investigate the scene of an accident at a later date, the evidence you collect right after an accident happens is especially valuable. That’s the one chance to capture the scene in photographs and gather information before the vehicles are removed, road conditions change, skid marks disappear, and witnesses go home. 

Contact the Car Accident Attorneys at Garmey Law

In addition to gathering evidence, you will also need an experienced personal injury lawyer who will use the evidence to build a powerful case and fight for your right to fair compensation. Contact the dedicated legal team at Garmey Law for a free consultation by calling us at (207) 481-4683, or contacting us through our website.