What to do After a Car Wreck

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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Written by Jeffrey Johnson
Insurance Lawyer Jeffrey Johnson

UPDATED: Jun 29, 2022

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In the immediate aftermath of a car wreck, you need to focus on contacting the authorities, treating any injuries, and reporting the accident to the insurance company. It is also important to keep in mind what you need to do after a car wreck to prove the value of your claim to the insurance company.

Document with Car Accident Witnesses

Car accident witnesses can be vital in proving liability and in valuing in your claim. Therefore, make sure you get the name, address, all phone numbers of any witnesses to your car accident. If the car accident witness seems cooperative ask them if it is okay to have them speak with the adjuster or to write down what they recall about the accident and type it later to present to them for their signature. A signed statement can go along way in proving negligence in a car accident.

Document with Pictures after a Car Accident

You have heard the saying, “pictures are worth a thousand words”. Well, pictures could be worth thousands of dollars. Documenting you claim in pictures could help you not only move your claim to a close faster but get a higher settlement! Most cell phones now have the capability of being able to take a picture. Pull out your phone and take a picture of the accident showing the resting position of the vehicles after the accident.Also, after the accident, take color photos of the following:

  • Accident Site – Snap photos that show the road and any damage to it due to the accident.
  • Bodily Injury – Take pictures of your wounds, stitches, scars. Anything to document your injury in vivid color.
  • Skid Marks – Take pictures of skid marks. Make sure you measure them. Include the measurement of their length in with your documentation. This can be used to determine the speed the car was going.
  • Vehicle Damage – Pictures showing all side of your vehicle but especially the impact damage.

If you do not take pictures right after the accident, start taking them! Document any and all damage from this moment forward with the camera. Try to go back to the scene of the accident and take any photos of skid marks or the surrounding area that can help support your story about how the accident happened.

Document with Records and Police Report

There are other documents you can use to help you after a car wreck. These documents could not only help you prove negligence after a car accident, but could possible help you to increase the value of your claim. An insurance adjuster will realize that not only are you organized but that you understand the process of documenting you claim to prove your value of your claim! Pull together the following:

  • Newspaper articles of the accident – If there was any write up after the accident about the crash in your local paper, include it with your documentation. Make sure you clip any pictures that were in the paper.
  • Policy report – Include the policy report even if it does not say who was at fault. If the insurance adjuster tries to say that the police report does not suggest that their insured was negligent, remind him that it doesn’t say he was not either. Police document what the see and also any
  • Don’t forget to look the at fault driver up on the internet – Google his or her name, look on Facebook. You would be surprise how many people post pictures that might show them using alcohol or drugs or in other compromising situation that could help your case. If you were rear ended by a drunk driver, obtaining pictures off the internet of the same driver heavily drinking could show a pattern as oppose to a one time incident. Along these lines, DO NOT post any pictures or information about the accident that can harm your case!
  • Keep copies of all bills after the accident pertaining to your care – OTC pain relievers, medical bills, receipts for maid service to help you around the house immediately following the accident or any hired transportation.
  • Keep a mileage log of trips to and from medical appointments such as the doctor or physical therapist.

After a car accident, immediately start keeping documentation and records. Documentation after a car accident can be invaluable to prove your claim. Make sure you start gather your documentation as soon as possible–especially car accident witness statements while they are still fresh. It is always possible to consult with a car accident attorney on the value of your claim. A car accident attorney will be able to determine your claim value by reviewing all your documentation. Most initial consultations are free, so speak with an attorney if you have any questions

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