Even a relatively minor auto collision may leave you feeling deeply shaken. After a crash, ensuring your own safety and the safety of others should take top priority.
However, once it is safe to do so, documenting the facts of the incident may prove invaluable should you need to file an insurance claim or bring a lawsuit against a negligent driver.
1. Exchange information with other drivers
In addition to the full names and contact details of drivers and passengers, make sure to collect the following basic information:
- Insurance company names and policy numbers
- License plate and driver’s license numbers
- The make, model and color of other involved vehicles
2. Identify other present parties
Police officers and witnesses to the incident may be able to provide important statements later. If possible, try to get the name and badge numbers of responding officers. You may also want to ask witnessing bystanders for contact information and inquire whether they would be willing to testify to the facts of the crash.
3. Take photographs and video
In the immediate aftermath of a collision, it can be easy to forget or misremember details.
In addition to taking photos of any injuries or vehicle damage, you may want to document the scene in general, including weather conditions, the presence/absence of road signs or signals, road debris or other unique circumstances.
4. Write an account of the incident
Shortly after the collision, it may also be helpful to write out an account of the incident as you remember it. However, keep in mind that an insurance agent may try to use your own testimony against you. Before sharing your story, make sure that you have had time to consider all the facts and potential contributing factors.