Auto accidents are upsetting, especially when it’s clear that the other driver was at fault. But it’s important to handle things in a calm, rational manner. Not only to prevent the situation from escalating but to ensure that all necessary steps are taken to protect any future claims.
There is just one opportunity to do things right at the scene of the accident. So it’s critical that nothing is missed, such as gathering the other driver’s information.
Information That Should Be Collected from the Other Driver
Be as thorough as possible when collecting driver information:
- Contact information. This includes the driver’s name, home/work phone number(s), email address, and residential address. If the driver isn’t the owner of the car, then be sure to get the insured’s contact information and inquire about his/her relationship to the driver. If there were any passengers who were injured, get their contact information as well. Be sure to indicate how many occupants were inside the vehicle.
- Insurance information. The name of the insurance carrier, the carrier’s phone number and the policy number should be collected.
- Details about the other vehicle. The driver should be able to provide information such as make, model and year of his/her vehicle. If not, jot down this information to the best of your ability.
- License plate number. Indicate what state the vehicle is from if the plates are from out of state, and copy down the license plate number.
- Driver’s license number. Ask the other driver for his/her driver’s license number, and note the state that issued it.
Some of this information can be difficult to obtain later on, so get as much of it as possible while at the scene of the accident.
Other Important Evidence to Gather at the Scene of an Auto Accident
Contact information of witnesses to the accident can be invaluable. They may be able to provide additional details surrounding what happened or back-up a victim’s version of events.
Information should also be obtained about the responding police officer. This will be helpful when trying to get a copy of the accident report. The officer’s name and badge number are examples of information to collect, while a report number may also be offered.
Photographs can show injuries as well as damage to the vehicle. But they may also help establish the type of accident and the circumstances that led to it. Photographs are invaluable if an accident claim goes to court.
Various shots from the scene should be taken such as:
- skid marks;
- positions of the vehicles;
- the intersection; and
- nearby markers.
Since details can start to get fuzzy with time, it’s also important to write notes surrounding the events leading up to and during the accident. Note weather conditions, observations of the other vehicle and anything else of relevance.
So much of a car accident claim can start being pieced together right at the scene of the crash. But there are additional steps that should be taken afterwards. For help, contact D.J. Banovitz at 303-300-5060.