What Steps Should I Take To Collect Evidence After A Car Accident?
A: As Wisconsin car crash lawyers, we sometimes deal with cases where certain critical information is no longer available. Follow these steps during and immediately after an accident to preserve evidence that could help your case:
- Call 911 to get professional assistance at the scene of the accident. You may lose the chance to collect certain evidence if police officers are not present to document it. Still, there is a chance that some evidence will be lost. Often police officers do not document everything we, as Wisconsin car accident attorneys, would like them to because of the chaotic situations that present themselves at accident scenes. Nonetheless, some accident scene documentation is better than no investigation.
- Cooperate fully with law enforcement’s investigation. Officers may ask you for a statement, insurance information, and other details they feel are important to your case. Under normal accident circumstances, working with law enforcement can only help you. If you were drinking, have a pending warrant for your arrest, or are otherwise potentially involved in criminal conduct at the time of the accident, it may be better to contact a Wisconsin car accident attorney before continuing the investigation with law enforcement.
- If you have your phone, take plenty of pictures! Photos can be key to successfully handling a car accident case. In many instances, police officers do not take photographs at all or take photographs that do not document crucial information about damage to the vehicles involved in the accident. Often photographs are taken by police officers that serve only to handle the matter legally, not to serve the purposes of your case. We suggest that you get plenty of photographs of the accident vehicles at the scene. They are often available for a short period of time after the car accident at a local towing or impound yard.
- As soon after the accident as possible, ask law enforcement to provide an accident report, photographs, and a copy of the 911 recording to you. If you are present when this report is compiled, you will have a chance to address any discrepancies at the scene. Police can make mistakes, just like the rest of us. Mistakes can be easily corrected, especially right after the accident when memory is fresh. Be aware that some law enforcement agencies don't keep records forever. Some law enforcement agencies retain 911 recordings for a short period of time, perhaps only 90-120 days.
- Document all of your injuries and treatments. We suggest you communicate all of your symptoms to your doctors and other medical professionals. Take regular photographs of your injuries. You may want to keep a journal documenting your symptoms, limitations, and any activities you missed as a result of your injuries. Don't be afraid that you're recording too much. Err on the side of over-documenting your injuries. You cannot go back in time after you have healed and prove the extent of your injuries without proper documentation. A Wisconsin personal injury lawyer will be able to better represent you when you have photographs, doctor’s notes, and your own personal account.
If you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact Jason Studinski, an experienced Wisconsin car accident attorney.