It’s important that ,if you’re ever in an accident, to speak with any witnesses who were at the scene. This is not exclusive to car accidents. You should get all the witness information you can whether you are in a car accident, pedestrian accident, are bitten by a dog, etc. It is also important to know different types of evidence gathering methods to make sure you have an accurate record of what happened. There are two categories that cover most evidence gathering: Saving records and taking pictures.
1) Trace Your Paper Trail
If you’ve been in a car accident, pedestrian accident, attacked, etc you need to call the police, no exceptions. Although you’ve called the police you still have to make sure they fill out a report. After that you need to get a copy of the report. While on the scene you should record which police department handled the case and the badge number of the responding officer so that you can easily request a copy of the report later. As soon as they file the report, get a copy for your own records.
Police reports aren’t the only thing you need to keep track of. After you’re treated you need to request copies of all of your medical records. If you have insurance you will need to get a receipt for your copy. If you feel that you have a case for medical malpractice then it’s important that you request your medical records as soon as possible. Unfortunately in some cases records might become altered or “lost” so it’s important to get all records as soon as possible.
It is also important to keep a list of witnesses. Having the address, name, and phone number of your witnesses can be useful as the defendant begins to distort the details and cloud what happened.
2) Go Camera Crazy
Take pictures of as much as you can. This includes anything that was damaged, the general scene, your injuries, etc. On your chart the doctor may write “extreme bruising and skin abrasions” but what does that really mean? By the time everything is being handled your wounds could very well be healed. Having pictures is important.
If you are in an accident taking pictures of the scene is key. There was once a woman who got in contact with us after her child was injured on his school playground by cement fixtures. The next day she photographed everything. When her child returned to school a few days later the fixtures had been removed by the grounds crew.
It should be noted that the school was not trying to be deceptive or hide evidence. The fixtures were removed after the accident because they realized how dangerous they were and wanted to prevent more injuries. Either way the claim would have been more difficult to fight had the mother not gathered the evidence quickly.