5 Ways to Use Your Phone to Collect Car Accident Evidence
Although the police will respond to the scene of your car accident, you can also gather some details yourself. Smartphones make it much easier to investigate a car accident at the scene. Your phone probably has all of the tools you need to collect important accident information just after it happens. Here are some accident investigation techniques you can perform with your phone.
Call the Police After Your Accident
Always call the police to report an accident, even for minor fender-benders.
This is step one, and it’s absolutely crucial, so use your phone for its intended purpose (for once) and call the police. After minor car accidents, you may be left asking yourself, “Do I need to call the police after a fender bender?” The answer is always yes, and not just because it’s illegal to leave the scene of a car accident – even a minor one.
You can experience a whole host of problems if you don’t report your crash. Sometimes the severity of a car accident injury is not always obvious just after it happens. You may not start getting headaches or feeling neck or back pain until a few days after your accident. If you didn’t report it or get the at-fault driver’s information, you may be completely out of luck if you need to sue for medical bills or other damages. The insurance company will most likely deny your claim if you don’t file a police report.
What to Take Pictures Of After an Accident
I won’t judge you if your camera roll is a chronicle of your #instafood greatest hits. In fact, I think you should nurture your compulsion to photograph absolutely everything in sight to thoroughly investigate a car accident claim.
Use your smartphone to photograph the scene of your accident.
Photographs of your car accident scene are among the most important pieces of evidence you can use to build your case. They show the damage to your car and any (minor!) injuries you suffered.* Photos of the location where the accident took place can also be helpful in proving that the at-fault driver had a duty of care to stop or slow down. You should also document the damage to any other vehicles involved in the accident.
*If you’re on a stretcher or in some kind of body brace, you can worry about taking photos later. Maybe resist the urge to snapchat your ambulance selfies.
Record Witness Statements
Photos can say a lot about the aftermath of your accident, but only witnesses can say what actually happened. Your ability to prove that the other driver was at fault may rest on your accident witness’ accounts.
Your voice memo app or the video function on your camera can record your witness’ statements to you. Ask them to recite their full names and addresses before their statements. Let them know this is only for identification purposes if they seem nervous about providing their addresses to a stranger.
Use your notepad app to take notes at the scene of your accident while the details are fresh in your mind.
Taking car accident notes on a notepad app makes you less likely to lose important information than if you had taken notes on paper. Some pieces of information to collect after a car accident are:
- Drivers’ and passengers’ names and addresses
- Other drivers’ insurance information
- Vehicle information – plate number, year, make, model, color
- Witness’ information – names, addresses and phone numbers
- Responding police officers’ names and badge numbers
- Ambulance information
- Towing information
- Description of the accident – what happened, damage to vehicles, injuries
Making notes as soon as the accident happens ensures that the events are still fresh in your memory. If you wait until later, you may forget important details.
Most of this information will be in the police report, but police officers can sometimes forget to include some details in their notes or forms. Officers might become distracted at accident scenes where people are injured or upset.
Use Your Car Insurance App to Confirm Your Coverage
You need to know what coverage your insurance policy provides you. Even though the other driver may have provided you and the responding police officers with proof of insurance, their policy may be expired or invalid. In case the other driver is actually uninsured or you are found to be contributorily negligent, you must know what your insurance covers to make decisions about repairs or medical treatment.
Call an Asheville Car Accident Lawyer
You could always use your phone to schedule a consultation with a personal injury attorney. Small car accident claims are sometimes fairly easy for people to handle on their own. However, if it starts to seem too complicated for you to deal with, hiring an attorney might be your best bet for recovering damages. An experienced lawyer can investigate a car accident for you, which allows you to focus on getting back to your routine.
Personal injury attorneys almost always offer free initial consultations. This consultation can be helpful in determining what damages you should ask for or if you have a strong case. Our personal injury attorneys are always prepared to take on new car accident cases. Call or Email us today to discuss your Asheville personal injury case.