If you or somebody you love has been involved in a vehicle accident caused by the careless or negligent actions of somebody else, then you are likely entitled to various types of compensation. However, securing this compensation is often not a straightforward process. These cases regularly require extensive investigation to uncover the evidence needed to prove liability. Here, we want to discuss evidence that should be preserved in the aftermath of a vehicle accident. Much of this evidence you may be able to gather yourself, but you may also need assistance from a skilled Phoenix car accident attorney at some point along the way.
Evidence That Can Be Gathered When the Crash Occurs
When we discuss evidence that can be gathered immediately following a car accident, we want to add a few caveats:
- Evidence should only be gathered if it is safe to do so at the scene
- Any person severely injured should not be gathering evidence at the scene of the crash
If the car accident scene is unsafe or if there are injuries that require immediate medical assistance, those issues take priority, not gathering evidence.
However, if the scene is relatively safe and a person’s injuries are fairly minor, it is possible to begin the evidence-gathering process right after a crash occurs. First, make sure that police are on the way to the scene so that they can conduct their own investigation. We always suggest that those involved in a vehicle accident use their phones or another type of camera to take photographs of everything that they see. This can include the following:
- Damage to any vehicles
- Debris around the scene
- Skid marks
- Traffic and weather conditions
- Any injuries
- License plates of vehicles
- Anything else that seems relevant
If there were any eyewitnesses to the crash, it is important to get their names and contact information as soon as possible. This includes any other drivers or passengers that may have stopped or any people nearby. Often, eyewitnesses leave very soon after an incident occurs, so if you fail to get their names and contact information quickly, their statements may never be heard.
Finally, at the scene of a crash, you should gather the driver’s license number, name, vehicle information, and insurance information of any other driver or passenger involved in the crash.
Gathering Vehicle Accident Evidence in the days Following the Crash
The evidence-gathering process does not end as soon as the scene is cleaned up. There are various types of evidence that can be gathered in the days and weeks that follow the crash that could help prove liability for the incident. Some of this evidence may be easy to get, but that is not always the case. You may need to seek assistance from a skilled vehicle accident attorney in Arizona who can help you gather the following:
- Video surveillance from nearby homes or businesses
- Information from a vehicle’s “black box” recording device
- Mobile device data, particularly if distracted driving is involved
- The police reports or accident reports
In some cases, particularly complex accidents, attorneys may require assistance from a skilled vehicle accident reconstruction expert. An attorney will know how to secure assistance from these experts and will ensure that their testimony is heard by insurance carriers, at-fault parties, or a jury if necessary.