A lot of people leave the scene of a car accident without the right information – especially if the accident doesn’t seem to be serious. When a fender bender turns into major bodywork down the road, the information you collected at the time of the crash can be the difference between a big payout and a big letdown. Here are the 6 crucial pieces of info you don’t want to forget:
1. The other driver’s full information.
Go beyond their name and phone number: get the other person’s address, license number and car registration. An easy way to do this is to snap a picture of their license and registration form. When it comes to insurance, you’ll want their policy number, the name of the company and the phone number.
2. The car details.
Don’t forget to gather information on the car, too! Take down the year, make and model; license plate number; and, if you can, the VIN number. The VIN is usually found where the dashboard meets the windshield.
3. Police information.
You should always call the police after an accident, even if you think your accident is small. Take down the officer’s name and badge number and ask him how you can get the accident report - a vital document that many insurance companies ask for.
4. Photos of the accident scene.
Pictures of the car damage are important, but just the beginning. If it’s safe, you should also take pictures of the entire crash scene from multiple angles. Be sure to include where the cars are on the road, skid marks, and any damage to nearby buildings or structures.
5. Witness statements.
Talk to any people that witnessed the accident. Take down notes of their account or use your phone to record them. Don’t forget to take down their names and contact information, in case you need to contact them later.
6. Survey the crash scene.
While the accident is still fresh, record exactly where, when and how the accident happened. Be specific about the location (name an intersection or cross street), how the cars were situated (what direction was each car driving in), and the driving conditions (was the weather bad? Was a sign missing?) You can write down this information or record yourself. While this might seem like overkill, people are pretty shaken up after a crash and small details slip away.
Put that information to good use
You’ve done all the detective work, now what? There are only two people you should share your accident info with: your insurance company and your lawyer. Your insurance company probably requires you to report the accident within a certain timeframe so they can start processing your claim. A lawyer will take this information and make sure that you get the compensation for your accident that you deserve.
A lawyer will also protect you from predatory outside insurance companies who will start hounding you for this information so they can get away with paying you less. Don’t give it to them! Instead, direct them to an experienced Alabama car accident lawyer like the ones here at Dean Waite & Associates, LLC. We’ll protect you from the insurance companies and fight for the maximum payout for your accident.
You did enough work at the crash scene. Relax and let Dean Waite & Associates, LLC take over your case – the consultation is free and you don’t pay anything unless they win your case. It never hurts to explore your options! Set up your first meeting at Dean Waite & Associates, LLC. Contact us today.