Police officers are very busy professionals and the accurate collection of accident data and evidence can be difficult, particularly if the scene is chaotic. Here are some things that you need to do to protect your interests in the event of a car crash:
Before the Possible Event of An Accident
Before you drive your car, you should be sure to have important documents at the ready. These documents include your license, insurance company contact information and your vehicle registration. Also, if you have a cell phone make sure it is charged. We will get to why that is important.
First, Call the Cops Immediately
A significant part of what local police departments do is react to vehicle accidents and document what has happened. It’s their job, so call them! And, in case you’ve been wondering, no matter how small an accident seems, it is best to call the cops. Don’t let another party tell you that you shouldn’t! If they try to, it might mean they have a situation that they don’t want revealed –like an intoxication issue or an expired license.
You Should Collect Data Right Away
If you are so inclined, find out who the others involved in the crash are and any witness’s names. You never know, it could take some time before a cop arrives and important people might leave before the police arrive. Definitely find out who was involved and the names of anyone that saw the accident.
Now the importance of having a charged cell phone with you comes in. The Collision Center Staff at Patrick Auto Body, a full-service collision/auto body shop that has locations in Schaumburg and Naperville, IL, urge you to take some pictures. You don’t even have to get out of your car when you do this. Just snap a few photos with your phone from the driver’s seat. And, if you are okay with doing so, and it is safe, exit the car and continue taking pictures. When you have pictures, you have objectively documented the accident’s reality. This way, when the vehicles are moved, you’ll now have the visual evidence to protect yourself.
This will almost seem unnecessary but try and record conversations you have with those at the scene, and this includes the police. It’s 100% legal, and it can be helpful later if the statements on the police report are not accurate or if the other person’s insurance disputes the report. Most smart phones have the capability to record conversations.
In summary, nobody wants to spring into action at the scene of a car accident but if it involves you or family/friends, protecting your interests could save you time and trouble. As we discussed in this article, consider recording as much of the accident as possible just in case you need to present the information to an interested party at a later time. Hopefully you won’t ever be involved in an accident, but if you are, knowing what to do can save you a lot of time and trouble –especially when dealing with the law enforcement.