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How to properly document the scene of a car accident

On Behalf of | May 8, 2024 | Car Accidents |

After a car accident, there are likely many things racing through your mind, and even though it may not be the first thing on your mind, remembering to properly document the scene is a critical part of the legal process to come.

Your first priority when you’ve been in a car accident should be to make sure everyone at the scene of the crash is safe. Call 911 if anyone gets injured — even if their injuries appear minor.

Once everyone is safe, there are a few steps you should take to ensure you capture the essential evidence from the accident site.

1. Take comprehensive photos.

Start by taking wide-angle photos to document the overall context of the accident. Take pictures from every corner of the scene, ensuring each vehicle’s position relative to traffic signals and road signs is visible. Then, move in closer to photograph any damage to the involved vehicles.

Remember to take pictures of license plates, skid marks, broken glass, debris, and any other relevant details at the scene of the crash. If injuries to people are involved, try to get photographs of these, as well — as long as it is appropriate and consensual to do so.

2. Collect information from others.

Identify any other drivers involved and gather their names, contact information, insurance details, and vehicle information. Speak to any witnesses as well and record their statements and contact information. Accounts of the incident from eyewitnesses and other drivers will be valuable for insurance claims and potential legal proceedings.

3. Get a police report.

If there are police officers on the scene, ensure you get a copy of the police report. This report is an official record of the accident and will typically include the responding officer’s perspective on how and why the accident occurred, which could be crucial insight for your case.

4. Handle your car with care.

Don’t forget that your vehicle could be valuable evidence. Avoid conducting any repairs to the vehicle until you have thoroughly documented the damage and it has been carefully reviewed for insurance or legal purposes. If your car is not in a drivable condition after the accident, maintain a record of any towing services and storage locations you use.

Being involved in a car accident is a stressful experience. However, when you know what steps to take, it makes handling the aftermath a bit easier.

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