There are few things in life quite as stressful as an automobile accident. It’s one of those experiences that completely shakes you out of whatever you were thinking about in the moments before it happens. No matter what stresses, concerns or hopes you had for the day, it all pales in contrast to the immediate requirements of dealing with the crash. Hopefully it isn’t anything too serious, and all involved parties walk away from it shaken up but with no major injuries. Consider yourself lucky in this case, as too many accidents to count each year end in death or extended hospital stays. But just because everyone is physically okay doesn’t mean you can just hop back in the car and move on with your day. You’ve got to think quickly and clearly, and get all of the details you’ll need to file your insurance claim and be fully prepared if things escalate into a court case. Here’s a quick look at the information you’ll need to record after an auto accident.
First of all, always get these details in writing. You might have the best memory in the world, but you’re sure to be a little bit emotional at this point. Maybe you’re scared, maybe angry, but you won’t be able to recall things as well as you normally do in other circumstances. So whether you take the information down with a pad and pen, a tablet device, a laptop or even your smartphone, get it down in writing.
Now it’s on to the basics. There are certain details you will always need, regardless of the severity of the accident or whose fault it may be. Start out by noting down the names of all of the other drivers involved in the accident. You should also get their contact information, both a full address and their cell phone and home numbers. But don’t stop there. You’ll need the same amount of information for all of the passengers as well. They may fight you a little bit on this, but the passengers are the very first witnesses to the scene, and will need to be contacted. Finally, jot down the license plate numbers for any car that was involved. Even if one of the cars isn’t damaged in any way, you should still take the information. You don’t want there to be any delays if you, your insurance company or your lawyer needs to get in contact with one of the other parties.
Speaking of insurance companies, make sure you take down the insurance details for the other drivers as well. Probably just noting the name and address of their insurance provider should be enough. But if the other drivers are willing to share, take down their account numbers as well. This isn’t really private information, and will help your insurance provider get in contact with the right departments quickly and effortlessly. After you’ve completed this step, look around for witnesses to the accident. If anyone is standing around and is willing to give a statement, take down their names, contact numbers and addresses. They could become crucial support for you in a small claims case.
These are the basics, but if at all possible you should try to record some more details from the scene. Now that almost everyone carries a smartphone with a built-in camera, take pictures of everything. Try to do this as soon as possible, before anyone moves their vehicles. Shoot images from all different angles and perspectives, so you can show someone who wasn’t there the complete picture. This will help immensely in a car accident settlement case, and if you hire AnyLawsuits or a similar company they will ask for these assets. If anyone is injured take photos of them, and snap pictures of any property damage on the scene as well. This will put you in the best possible position to insure that any legal cases will reflect the truth of the situation.