Preserving Evidence & Documenting Damages
If you are in a car crash that causes over $1,500 in damage to any vehicle, or causes any injuries, you are required to fill out a DMV report. Keep a copy for your records, as the DMV will not give you a copy later. You are also required to inform law enforcement about your accident, if it meets those criteria.
In an accident involvinga serious injury, there can be a race to get evidence. The area should be photographed extensively. Skid marks should be photographed and measured. The automobiles should be photographed before they are moved. Most cell phones have cameras these days. Now is a good time to learn how to use it, if you don’t already.
If you are receiving prompt medical care, it is usually not necessary to photograph your injuries. However, if medical records will not adequately preserve evidence of any injury, it is sometimes advisable to photograph it. In certain cases, the vehicles should be saved as evidence. Both medical records and photos can be extremely useful in showing liability and damages months later, when you might have forgotten the details.
If you have been seriously injured, you may not be in a position to take photographs. The best solution is for you to hire an experienced private investigator to document evidence. If that’s not possible, you may want to ask a relative or friend to document the scene and damages for you, though you should be aware that this could sometimes look biased if the case goes to trial. If you can afford a professional, experienced private investigator, that is by far the best course of action. If you hire an attorney, the attorney will be able to hire a private investigator for you, as well.
If an accident was caused or made worse by a missing road sign, or a sign that is obscured by a tree or bush that should have been pruned, or any other road hazard, this should be documented immediately as it might be cause to sue a public body, in which you have less time to file than if you are pursuing damages from another driver’s insurance.