The first thing you should do right after a car accident occurs is call the police as soon as possible. Not only is this required by law, but it will help to generate evidence if you decide to file a lawsuit or insurance claim to recover your damages later. Responding police officers can also provide first aid and call for an ambulance.
Next, take pictures and videos of the accident scene if you can. This is the only time when evidence will be this fresh. Try to capture the vehicles’ positions, weather conditions, road conditions, and signs of property damage.
Finally, identify if any other people saw the accident. Having their name and phone numbers can help insurance companies, police officers, and lawyers investigate the collision further.
This article will discuss these three steps in more detail so that you understand how they can help you build your car accident case.
Step 1: Call the Local Police Department or 911
State law requires people who are involved in a car accident that results in either property damage or a physical injury to call the police. Even if you do not believe that the accident is serious, always call the police to be safe.
This can be helpful for a variety of reasons:
- People can get medical aid: The police officer will offer medical aid to anyone who asks and can summon an ambulance if 911 has not already done so.
- You can get evidence: Police officers will create an accident report that can be used as evidence in your case to determine liability.
- You can protect evidence: Calling the police can help ensure that the accident gets recorded. Once the police file the crash report, this piece of evidence is preserved in logs.
Step 2: Use Your Phone to Document the Accident
Documenting the accident scene as soon as possible can be crucial to building your case. Once the cars move from their initial crash positions, it can be more difficult to accurately figure out how the accident happened. If possible, immediately stop your vehicle and try to take photos of:
- The exact positions all involved vehicles are in
- Property damage you incurred
- Environmental factors or road conditions
- Your injuries
- Debris or other signs of the accident, such as skid marks
Taking a few minutes to record pictures and videos can make a difference in a future claim for compensation.
Documenting Evidence Now Can Help You in the Future
Once traffic resumes back to normal, certain aspects of the accident scene will be lost if you do not document it immediately. If you are able to take photos, do so, as this can help you file a claim or lawsuit in the future.
Having photos preserves the original positioning of the accident, which can help with reconstructing how the accident occurred. You also want to keep in mind that not all evidence is preserved forever, so having photos as evidence can help you if you are unable to get other evidence in time.
This is important to note because Ohio Revised Code § 2305.10 generally gives you two years from the date of an accident to demand payment in court. Take immediate action to collect evidence rather than wait.
Step 3: Obtain Identifying Information Concerning the Other Driver and Witnesses
A portion of your case might involve identifying who saw the accident occur. This can help bring an objective viewpoint about how the accident happened and who caused it. Their testimony can also help support your claims that you were a victim of someone else’s negligence.
If possible, be sure to get the names and phone numbers of people not involved in the crash but who saw it occur. This could provide your case with evidence concerning who was to blame for the collision.
Knowing What to Do After a Car Accident Is Essential to Protect Your Health and Legal Rights
One of the most common questions we hear concerns what to do right after a car accident. Even if you are not able to do all these steps, we can help you in the aftermath of your accident.
The team at the Fitch Law Firm, LLC, wants to help protect your legal rights after a car crash. Give us a call today at (614) 545-393 for a free consultation about your case.