The best way to protect your legal rights after you are involved in a car accident is by collecting evidence. This is the first thing you should do – or ask an uninjured passenger to do – once both of you get your bearings.
The information you gather will play a crucial role in a personal injury or property damage claim you want to make against the at-fault driver. By gathering evidence, you can also protect your interests if the other driver makes a claim against you. Here are some things you should right after your accident.
Chances are high that either you or your passenger will have a smartphone with you. Use it to take detailed videos and pictures of the accident site. Cover damages to your car, along with the state of the other vehicle. Also, take pictures of the visible injuries you and your passenger sustained because of the accident. The pictures and footage will allow you to strengthen your case if the other driver’s insurance company tries to devalue it.
If you see witnesses around the accident site, take down their contact information and a verbal statement on video from your smartphone. You can contact them afterwards in case their testimony is required in court. The police officers who are dispatched to the scene will do this as well, but chances are, they will not record witness statements on video.
Make sure you make copies of the record police provide, as well as the video statements and contact information you receive from witnesses. If the insurance company tries to deny your claim, you will have irrefutable proof proving the validity of your claim.
Some evidence that is critical for your lawsuit or injury claim may be discarded, damaged or ‘spoiled’ either by accident or by design. To ensure it is preserved until you make your claim, ask your attorney to draft a spoliation letter to the facility that has custody of the evidence.
The letter will put them on notice to ensure they preserve each piece of evidence to the best of their abilities. It will also make them liable if the evidence is destroyed by accident. This includes surveillance footage, emails, medical records or even a piece of your vehicle that broke off in the accident.
If you are in search of a team of professional attorneys who are experienced in handling auto accident cases and claims, get in touch with the Law Offices of Robert Edens today. We offer our services in Chicago, Waukegan, Woodstock, Libertyville and Antioch, IL.