If you have ever been involved in a car accident, you know about the shock and confusion surrounding that moment and how difficult it can be to keep your wits about you, let alone remember everything that you need to start an insurance claim at the scene of an accident. Whether the damage is bodily or an automotive issue, you need to be properly compensated for the damage.
It is an event that can easily change your life and you need to be prepared to gain what you are owed. It can be complicated to get an insurance claim approved by your insurance company as they are a business and are largely looking for reasons to not provide the money you are due.
Before you hire a car accident lawyer, it is important to gather as much information as you can at the scene of the accident. Not only will it make the lawyer’s job easier, but it should make the insurance claim process run a lot more smoothly. Here are a few things you need to remember to do at the scene of an accident to settle a claim:
1. Photographs and other evidence must be collected at the scene of the crime
There is no better evidence when filing a claim than physical evidence. You need to collect as much of it as possible. This usually comes in the form of photographs of the crime scene (which is easy to capture in the smart phone generation), including damage to the car, debris in the surrounding area, and bodily wounds. If your car suffered a fender bender, make sure you snap a picture of the front or back bumper for denting and warping.
If the car was struck from the side, make sure the pounded door is well-documented. It also shows the positioning of the vehicles which will help back up your story when you describe how the accident happened. Once you have the photos, you can show your insurance company to ensure that the claim will be valid.
2. Medical-related expense list and assessment of injuries
After an accident, you are able to collect damages such as vehicle damages, personal property damages (other non-vehicle related items that may have been in the car at the scene of the accident), car rental damages, and personal damages (costs that come out of your own pocket, such as requiring a taxi ride or Uber when needing a ride home after the accident, especially if the car is totaled).
On the scene, try to get an accurate list together of expenses that the car has sustained and try to estimate a dollar amount. Everything from cuts to bruises should be documented and tallied up. Understandably, some injuries may prohibit you to take images on scene, but it is important to document them as soon as possible.
3. Talk to witnesses at the accident
The chances are that other people had witnessed the car accident and can give a fair recollection of the accident. Having that added testimony can help strengthen your case, but you can only get that chance to speak with them at the scene of the accident.
4. A copy of the police report
Once you call the police and they arrive on scene, officers will take down all available information on the crash and will compile that into an official police report. This is a critical piece of information that will help move your insurance claim along.