Read this. Print this. Keep it in your car. Share it with your loved ones.
If you are in a car crash (we hope you never are), you may feel frantic and unsure of what to do. We know that it can be overwhelming, but there are a few things you will want to remember, do, and write down after a crash.
Don’t trust your memory. You will be surprised by the details you forget almost immediately, or once the adrenalin leaves your system. Those details could make a huge difference down the road if you are having to fight for the compensation you deserve. Having a written record of the crash details will help.
As soon as practical after a car crash, write these things down:
1. The other driver’s information. If the police come to the scene, have them do an accident report. That report will include this information. You’ll need, at a minimum, the other driver’s contact information and their insurance information. It’s also a good idea to write down other details such as the make and model of their car and license plate number. If you can’t find the driver or their insurance company later on, even if the other driver was clearly at fault, you may not be able to recover damages from them.
2. Damage to the vehicles. Take pictures and write down the visible damages to your vehicle and any other vehicle involved. No matter who is at fault, you’ll need this information for your insurance company to recover either from your insurance, or the party at fault, for damage to your vehicle. Sometimes these photos are also used to reconstruct the accident and prove who was at fault. Be detailed – later on, it can be difficult to remember the details that could make a difference if the other party is trying to blame you for the crash or for the damage to their car.
3. Injuries. Write down any injuries you and your passengers have. You’ll also want to make a note of any injuries that the other driver seems to have. Over the coming weeks and months, continue to document your injuries and medical treatment including the effects of your injuries on your daily life.
4. What happened? As soon as you can, write down your account of exactly what happened and how the crash occurred. You don’t need to share this with anyone, but it could be be helpful later on if a dispute arises about the cause of the crash. It is also helpful to have if you end up hiring an attorney. Having an accurate record of these details could mean the difference between being at fault and being able to prove that another driver was at fault – meaning the difference between recovering monetary damages or not.
5. Any other details important details. Keep a journal of any other details you think of. This may include things like 1) the crash location, time, weather conditions, road conditions, road work, and lighting; 2) statements made at the scene by other people such as the other driver or witnesses; and 3) how the crash and your injuries have changed your day-to-day life and activities. Having a record of these details could make a big difference in your case, and you may not be able to remember them as clearly without a written record to refresh your memory.
It’s best to take the above steps as soon after a crash as possible, while your memory is still fresh. We recommend printing this off and keeping it in your glove compartment so that if you are in a car crash, you have a reminder of the things you need to document immediately. Then give us a call – we can walk you through the rest of the process and help you recover from your crash.