What Information I Need to Record After a Car Accident
Getting into a car accident means that you will have to deal with an insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit to obtain financial compensation for your bills. You can make this process easier – and increase your chances of success – by gathering certain information from the very beginning of your case. The evidence that you obtain on your own can build a strong foundation for your car accident claim in Alabama. Use this list as a general guideline for what information, documentation and records you should be collecting after a car accident.
A Police Report
During your car accident case, you will have the burden to prove that the other driver (or a third party) is at fault for your crash. The burden of proof is a preponderance of the evidence, or enough evidence to show that the defendant is more likely to be at fault for your car accident than not at fault.
A police accident report can be one of the strongest forms of evidence against the other driver. It will contain information such as the direction both vehicles were traveling, if the other driver violated a traffic law or was arrested, what eyewitnesses saw, and the police officer’s opinion of what caused the crash. Always call 911 at the scene of a car accident to obtain a police report.
Photographs and Videos
Recording images while you are still at the scene of the car accident can be integral to building your case against the other driver. Use your cell phone to capture photographs and video footage of the road, both vehicles, street signs, debris, the inside of the other driver’s vehicle, injuries and any other important details. Be sure to take a wide-lens shot of the entire scene of the accident.
If you can, walk to nearby businesses to inquire about video surveillance footage. Request copies of any videos that caught the accident on tape or recorded you or the other driver approaching the place where the collision occurred. If there are any nearby traffic surveillance cameras, the police can help you access this footage. Finally, if anyone at the scene had a dashcam or GoPro camera at the time of the crash, ask them to send you a copy of the footage.
The Other Driver’s Information
You need to exchange information with the other driver before you leave the scene of a car accident. This includes your names, addresses, contact phone numbers, license plate numbers, driver’s license numbers and car insurance information. If the other driver was working at the time of the crash, write down the company’s name. Don’t forget to also write down the contact information of passengers and eyewitnesses so that you can obtain statements later.
Go to a hospital right away for professional medical care after a car accident in Alabama and request copies of your medical records. Work with a Birmingham personal injury lawyer to submit only the relevant records to the insurance company; do not give the insurer a blanket authorization to access your full medical history, as they may use this to search for a pre-existing injury or reason to deny your claim.
Property Damage Evidence
Once your car has been looked at by an auto mechanic, request copies of the mechanic’s list of what needs to be repaired and the price estimates. It can also help your case if you have older records showing what condition your vehicle was in prior to the accident, such as if you had made any improvements or modifications right before the crash occurred.
What’s Next: Contact a Car Accident Lawyer in Alabama
After you’ve recorded as much information as you can about your collision in Alabama, bring a case folder with everything you’ve collected to a car accident lawyer near you. A Birmingham car accident lawyer will review all of the documentation available to provide a comprehensive overview of your case, rights and legal options.