You may not be fully aware of your options immediately after a car accident. It's not unusual to feel frustration and shock after realizing someone else's recklessness or negligence caused your crash.
You can conduct your own investigation immediately after a crash, but you must first follow the basic procedures. First, move your car somewhere safe, such as the shoulder of a road or a parking lot. You should also call the police, report any injuries, and exchange insurance information with the other driver.
Why should I conduct my own investigation?
When the police arrive at the scene of the crash, they will conduct their own investigation and draft a crash report. The crash report will include unbiased documentation of how the crash occurred, what factors were involved, and if any citations or arrests were made.
Conducting your own investigation will also provide additional supporting evidence that your attorney can use to build a strong legal claim. You can get started while you wait for the police to arrive. Here is how:
- Take multi-angle videos and pictures of the crash scene: Be sure to capture damage to all cars involved, as well as tire marks and damage to roadside structures (guardrails, trees, or poles).
- Document the details on paper: Write down critical details surrounding the crash. This can include nearby security cameras, the weather, road conditions, or behavior of the at-fault driver.
- Get witness statements: A witness who stopped to help may have seen exactly what happened. Or they may know how the at-fault driver was behaving prior to the crash. The statement of witnesses can be used to support your claim in court. Be sure to take down contact information of witnesses.
- Get dash cam video: If you have a dash cam mounted in your car, you may be able to capture video of the at-fault driver 's actions that contributed to your accident. If you do not have a dash cam, the at-fault driver's actions could have been captured by a witness. Moreover, a witness may have captured erratic behavior prior to the crash.
- Request surveillance video: Whether it's a police intersection camera, a security camera at a nearby business, or even a Ring doorbell camera at a residence, video cameras are everywhere! Unfortunately, video gets deleted very quickly. Go back to the scene as soon as possible. Identify any video cameras in the area and politely ask the owner if you could have a copy or if they could at least save the video. Video can be one of the most powerful forms of evidence.
How can my evidence support my claim?
You must report your crash to your insurance provider promptly after your accident, while keeping your comments to a minimum. You should also seek prompt medical attention, even if you feel fine. A medical evaluation can provide documentation of any injuries you have sustained.
Lastly, you should consult with an experienced Ohio car accident attorney who can piece together a solid case on your behalf and deal with the at-fault driver's insurance company.
Contact Merriman Legal, LLC to schedule your no obligation case consultation. We serve clients in Cleveland and across Ohio.