What Information Should I Collect After A Car Accident?
It’s difficult to think clearly during the immediate aftermath of a car accident. Your head might be spinning. Your ears might be ringing. You might be in shock. You could be trapped inside of your vehicle. If you were seriously injured, you should focus upon obtaining emergency medical treatment for your injuries. If you’re fortunate enough not to be seriously injured, you should call 911 and then collect information from the driver that injured you, as well as any collision scene witnesses.
If you’ve been injured in an auto accident, you should immediately contact an car accident lawyer in Atlanta. The veteran legal team at Allen & Scofield Injury Lawyers, LLC has successfully represented car collision victims for over three decades. We understand that many people don’t know what to do after a car accident because they’ve never been in a car collision or hired an attorney. If you have questions, we have the answers.
5 Items of Information That You Should Collect After The Car Accident
If your collision occurred on a busy highway, such as the I85-75 connector, GA 400, or I-285, you should not get out of your vehicle. Instead, you should call 911 and wait for the emergency responders to arrive. The emergency responders will put out safety cones and direct traffic to keep you safe from a secondary collision. Once the collision scene is secure, the police officer will approach your vehicle and help you collect the information that you will need to file your claim against the at fault driver’s insurance carrier.
If your collision occurred in a residential area or in any area where you can safely pull off of the road, you should remove your vehicle from the roadway. At that point, if you’re not seriously injured, you should get out of your vehicle and collect information on your own from the other drivers, as well as any collision scene witnesses.
Here is the list of information that you should collect once you can safely exit your vehicle:
- Insurance information. By law, you must notify your insurance carrier and the at-fault driver’s insurance carrier that the collision occurred. In order to do that, you need to know what carrier insures the at-fault driver. You should first ask the at-fault driver whether he or she has a copy of his or her insurance card in the vehicle. If they do, request to review it and take a photo of it with your phone. If the at-fault driver doesn’t have an insurance card, make sure that he or she at least identifies the insurance carrier.
- Contact information. You should get a phone number from anyone that is at the collision scene. It is particularly important that you identify a collision witness and get his or her contact information. The collision scene witness may leave before the police officer arrives. If that’s the case, you’ll want to give the witness’ phone number to the police officer. Even if you forget to give the witness’ phone number to the police officer, you can always follow-up with the witness at a later date and request a statement.
- License information. Atlanta is one of the major transportation hubs in the United States. Tens of thousands of people visit our city each week. The at-fault driver might be visiting from out-of-state. If that’s the case, you want to know that sooner rather than later because it is trickier to sue non-residents in Georgia. You should ask the driver for his or her driver’s license number and the state of residence.
- Employer information. When you get out of your vehicle and you survey the damage to the vehicles, you should take note of any advertising that is on the exterior of the at-fault driver’s vehicle. If there is a business name on the exterior of the at-fault driver’s vehicle, it is more likely than not that the driver was working for his or her employer at the time of the collision. Confirm that with the driver. Many times, at fault drivers don’t disclose that they are in the scope of employment at the time of the collision. It’s very important for you to try and figure that out because if they are in the scope of employment, you can potentially recover money from their employer’s auto insurance policy in addition to the at-fault driver’s insurance policy.
- Vehicle Information. All too frequently, at fault drivers will momentarily stop after a collision and then leave the collision scene. That typically occurs when the driver is driving on a suspended license, intoxicated, or if there is a warrant out for the driver’s arrest. If the driver flees, many times he or she can’t be found if you didn’t note the make and model of the vehicle and the license plate number. Make sure that you write down that information as soon as you come to a complete stop. If the driver flees and the police are unable to locate him, you may miss out on a valuable source of insurance money.
What Should I Do If The Other Driver Wants To Collect My Information?
It is not a good idea to share your home address, your phone number, or your driver’s license with the at-fault driver. You should only share that information with the police officer.
Remember, you didn’t cause the collision. Therefore, the at-fault driver doesn’t need that information because he or she won’t be filing a claim against your insurance policy. Even if they dispute liability, you should only give them the information on your insurance card.
If you disclose personal identifying information, it is possible that the at-fault driver, or his or her associates, could attempt to steal your identity, or stalk you.
Allen & Scofield Injury Lawyers, LLC Can Help
If you were recently injured in an auto accident and you did not collect all of the above information, you might be wondering, “am I out of luck?” Not necessarily. Experienced car collision lawyers like the legal team at Allen & Scofield Injury Lawyers, LLC know how to gather this information from other sources, such as 911 reports, surveillance videos, police body cameras, and more.
Those information sources help prove how the collision occurred, and they can often illustrate the severity of the collision impact. If the collision didn’t cause a lot of noticeable property damage to either vehicle and the at-fault driver claims he was going slow, a surveillance video that shows the at-fault driver running a red light at high speed before rear-ending your vehicle will be very useful to your claim.