Immediately following an auto collision, ensuring your own safety and the safety of others takes top priority.
However, once it is safe to do so, documenting the scene of the accident thoroughly may be essential should you need to file an insurance claim, pursue a personal injury suit against a negligent driver or defend yourself against an at-fault claim.
1. Record driver contact information
Make sure to take down other drivers’ insurance policy names and numbers, contact information and vehicle registration data as well as the general make, model and color of the other autos involved.
2. Take photographs of injuries and vehicle damage
If safe to do so, you may want to photograph injuries that you or others sustained during the collision as well as damage to vehicles or surrounding property.
3. Document other information from the scene
From the positioning of vehicles and the presence of skid marks or road debris to the existence (or lack) of appropriate traffic signs or signals, photographs and/or video may prove to be invaluable evidence later. Other items to document may include:
- The general layout of the accident location
- The state of the weather and other environmental conditions
- Photographs of others at the scene, including other drivers, passengers and police officers
4. Request witness contact information
You may also want to ask bystander witnesses for contact information. They may be willing to provide third-party testimony that sheds valuable light on the facts of the incident.
In the immediate aftermath of an auto collision, it can be difficult to piece together exactly what happened and who may be at fault. Even unimportant-seeming details may prove material later. When in doubt, you may want to take as many photographs as you safely can while still on the scene.