When it comes to proving who was at fault for a car accident, a picture paints a thousand words. Following any auto accident, there are many good reasons to take out your phone and start documenting everything. If you fail to do so, you may later come to regret it. Without documented accident scene evidence, any car wreck attorney you hire in Rockville, TX or Navasota, TX will have more of an uphill battle in recovering compensation for your losses.
Why You Should Document Everything at the Scene of a Car Accident
After a serious car accident in which you suffer an injury, you may feel too shocked and bewildered to think of gathering evidence. On the other hand, in a minor fender bender with no apparent vehicle damage, you may feel embarrassed to start gathering evidence, as if you’re making a mountain out of a molehill.
But in both of these cases, wise drivers protect always themselves with photos, videos, and other careful evidence collection. Taking immediate steps to document the scene of an accident often makes a huge difference to an accident victim’s life and finances down the road.
Documentation Determines Truth When Stories Change
No matter how friendly another driver may seem at the scene of an accident, their story may change when they later realize how much money is on the line. If you haven’t taken photos and videos of the vehicle positions, vehicle damage, road conditions, skid marks, weather conditions, and any injuries sustained, you might later be faced with a difficult situation where it’s your word against theirs.
Documented evidence from the accident scene helps determine the facts of what actually happened. Any evidence you collect may prove invaluable when seeking to persuade an insurance company or jury that you’re owed compensation for your medical bills, property damage, and other losses.
The Police Report May Not State Who Was at Fault
An important source of accident-scene evidence is often the police report, which is why you should always call the police to the scene of an accident, no matter how minor. Oftentimes, the police report will state the officer’s opinion of who was at fault for the crash. But this isn’t always the case.
On the day, the police officer on the scene may have been unsure of who was responsible. So the police report shouldn’t ever be depended upon as the cornerstone of your claim. Gather additional evidence at the scene and you’ll have the basis of a strong case even if the police report lacks mention of fault.
Eyewitness Memories Fade Over Time
Another important evidence-gathering step is to talk to eyewitnesses at the accident scene. Get their contact details and jot down any initial statements they make about what occurred. But while eyewitness testimony often proves extremely valuable, memories can’t always be relied upon.
In fast-moving, confusing crashes involving motorcycles or multiple vehicles, eyewitnesses might not even fully understand what occurred. In many situations, photos and video evidence are more reliable than fallible human memory. An accident reconstruction expert can analyze your photos and videos and then accurately recreate the accident with visual aids and 3D models in order to persuade a jury of your case.
Vehicle Damage Isn’t Always Obvious
When a minor accident happens, the drivers sometimes want to quickly brush the whole thing under the rug and forget about it. Seeing no obvious vehicle damage, they might exchange contact and insurance details and then drive off to continue with their days.
But this is often a mistake. Firstly, vehicle damage isn’t always obvious at first glance. You may well come home later that day to find a hairline windshield crack, a cracked bumper, or a blistered tire, any of which might cost hundreds or even over a thousand dollars to repair. You’ll then regret not documenting evidence, including calling the police, to prove the other driver’s liability.
Your Injuries May Have Delayed Symptoms
Another significant reason to always document the scene of any accident, no matter how small, is that injury symptoms are sometimes delayed. Even potentially serious injuries such as neck damage from whiplash may only make themselves known days or even weeks later. And in the heat of the moment immediately after a crash, accident victims are often flooded with adrenaline, which is well-known to mask pain.
So after a car accident, it’s unwise to ever assume you’re uninjured just because you feel fine. Instead, always assume that health complications may appear later on. And when they do, you’ll be facing expensive medical bills. With this in mind, carefully collect evidence at the scene of the accident to help your attorney recover financial compensation for your medical bills if and when they arise.
What Evidence To Collect at a Car Accident Scene
As previously mentioned, you should always call the police to the scene. This will provide you with a police report, which is often essential evidence. In Texas, you’re also obliged by law to call the police if anyone is injured, the vehicles cannot be moved, one of the drivers involved has no insurance, you suspect the other driver is intoxicated, or there’s a hit-and-run accident.
Also, approach any eyewitnesses. Ask for their contact details and note down anything they say about the accident. Likewise, note down anything the other driver says to you, especially if they admit to fault for the crash. But it’s best to minimize communication with the other driver, and certainly don’t admit to any degree of fault for the accident as this will later hinder your ability to legally recover compensation for your damages.
What to Document With Photos and Videos
Using the camera on your smartphone, take pictures and videos of the positions of the vehicles involved, license plates, and any damage to either vehicle. Also, take photos and videos of skid marks on the road and any objects or road conditions such as broken glass, vehicle parts, rocks, branches, snow, wet surfaces, and anything else of possible relevance. It’s best to capture the weather conditions as well.
If there are any street signs or traffic lights nearby, take pictures of them; in particular, take care to visually show how the other driver might have disobeyed a road sign or traffic light. Take your pictures from various angles and distances, ensuring that everything is clear. Try not to miss any detail, no matter how small or irrelevant you think it may be. Your car wreck attorney and accident reconstruction expert can later decide what is or isn’t useful.
What If You’re Too Seriously Injured to Collect Evidence?
Your immediate health and safety should always come first, so if you’ve been severely injured, seek emergency medical care.
But even then, try to have a friend or family member visit the accident scene and collect this evidence for you. It will likely prove critical when later seeking to prove the other driver’s liability in order to recover compensation for your medical bills.
How a Car Wreck Attorney Can Help You in Rockville, TX or Navasota, TX
If you’re having trouble collecting this evidence from the accident scene, you can also contact a car accident attorney. Your attorney can leap into action, sending a special investigator to the accident scene to document all the necessary evidence.
Hiring an attorney at this early stage is usually the best move for any car accident victim. With proper legal guidance from the get-go, you’re less likely to make costly mistakes and will start your claim or lawsuit off on the right foot toward a successful resolution.
If you’d like an award-winning trial attorney to help you recover compensation for your injuries, contact Brian C. Gutierrez at (979) 364 5346 for a free consultation. For over 15 years, Brian has been supporting local Texan families, striving to help his clients successfully recover from their losses.