What Information Should I Write Down After My Car Accident?
Getting into a car accident is a difficult and often overwhelming time as a victim. On top of dealing with your personal injuries, you will also have to handle an insurance claim. A claims adjuster may ask you many questions about your crash before deciding whether to accept or deny your claim. Knowing what information to gather from the start – from the scene of the car accident – can help you prepare for the claims process.
Knowing what to write down after your car accident can make a big difference in how smoothly your insurance claim goes. A car accident can scatter your thoughts and lead to feelings of panic or stress, making it easy to forget what information you are supposed to gather. Having a list can help you focus and get the facts before it is too late. Keep this checklist handy, either bookmarked on your phone or printed out in your glove box in case you get into a crash.
- When, where and how the car accident occurred
- What direction each vehicle was traveling
- The weather and roadway conditions at the time of the crash
- The other driver’s name and contact information
- The other driver’s insurance information
- A description of the other driver’s vehicle, including license plate numbers
- How many people were involved and if they had injuries
- Whether the other driver seemed drunk or intoxicated
- A description of property damages and injuries
- The names and numbers of eyewitnesses
- The name of the responding police officer and your police report number
You should also write down a description of how you believe the crash happened while it is still fresh in your mind. This can help you keep your facts straight and story consistent when you tell it to insurance agents and/or a personal injury attorney. Create a car accident journal where you document all relevant information relating to your case, including how it has affected you personally. Keeping a chronological record could strengthen your claim to damages – especially intangible damages such as pain and suffering.
Documents and Records to Gather
For your car accident claim to successfully lead to a payout, you may also have to request copies of important documents on top of writing information down. An insurance claims adjuster may request certain documents to prove your damages or determine how the accident happened. Work with one of our local car accident attorneys if you need assistance obtaining copies of crash-related documents.
- A copy of your police report
- Accident-related medical records
- Health care bills
- Receipts from out-of-pocket expenses
- Estimates from auto mechanics
- Pay stubs documenting lost wages
- Letters or emails from insurance companies
The more information you can gather about your car accident and related damages, the better for your claim. Some insurance companies request excessive information from their clients to prove causation and damages. Collecting evidence and information from the start can help you build a stronger, more successful claim. When discussing your case with a claims adjuster, however, be careful what you give away. Do not admit fault or accept the very first settlement offer. Instead, use an attorney to help you negotiate a fair amount.
Call an Accident Attorney for Assistance
It is normal to feel overwhelmed by the claims process after a serious car accident. These checklists of what to write down and what documents to obtain can help you keep important facts straight. An accurate and detailed record of events can help an insurance company understand what happened and who is to blame, as well as how much your case is worth. If you need professional assistance collecting information or evidence, contact an attorney near you. A car accident lawyer will know exactly how to gather information and build a case on your behalf.