Your safety and the safety of other people present should take top priority after an auto collision. However, if you can do so safely, documenting the incident thoroughly may prove essential later.
Whether you need to pursue compensation through an insurance company, file a claim against an at-fault driver or defend yourself against allegations of negligence, here are three types of information you may want to gather while still on the scene.
1. Driver contact information
In New York, you must stop at the scene after an auto collision and exchange information with other parties involved. In addition to names, addresses and contact numbers, make sure to take down other drivers’ license numbers as well as insurance and vehicle registration information.
2. Photographs and video
Taking numerous photographs and video may provide important evidence later. In addition to injuries, damage to vehicles or property and other persons present, you may want to document the scene itself, including the presence of traffic signs/signals, environmental conditions and any debris/skid marks produced during the collision.
3. Witness contacts
It may also be a good idea to ask witnesses on the scene for contact information. They may be able to provide a third-party statement later that confirms your recollection of events.
It can be difficult to piece together the facts in the immediate aftermath of even a minor auto accident. Gathering as much information as possible while on the spot may help you, your insurance adjuster or a judge to determine who may have been at fault.