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What NOT to Do When Gathering Evidence after a Car Accident


What NOT to Do When Gathering Evidence after a Car Accident 1

According to the California Office of Traffic Safety, traffic fatalities have increased approximately by 7.6% from 2020 to 2021 alone, showing the troubling yet continuing trend with car-related incidents each year. That said, car accident settlements and lawsuits can take its toll on all parties involved. If you or a loved one has been recently involved in a car accident, regardless of gravity, it is important to know how to proceed with proper evidence collection. In particular, it is vital to know what types of evidence to look out for and what not to do when gathering evidence—all of which we have listed below.

Admit fault

Given the nature of car accidents, it is expected to anticipate high emotions following the unfortunate incident. It’s important, however, to keep your cool during the next few hours—make sure to watch what you say and don’t make any bold statements you may end up wanting to recant later on. These may be used against you later on.

Neglect collecting photos and footage

Photos and videos are always good pieces of evidence to have for automobile incidents, especially if they depict the following: debris, skidmarks, injuries, road conditions, and property damage. Nowadays, keeping any dashcam footage you may have captured from your vehicle is also useful. Generally speaking, most car accidents are settled out of court via insurance claims, but in the event that a party wants to sue, these photos and videos could significantly help with a plaintiff’s claim. 

Overlook collecting contact details and witnesses

One of the first things one has to do when involved in a car accident is to exchange contact information with the other parties involved—make sure to get their name, phone numbers, insurance details, driver’s license details, and plate numbers. It would also be helpful to take witness statements from persons who have no personal stake in the accident at hand, such as bystanders, pedestrians, cyclists, and other drivers close by who may have seen the collision.  

Fail to request a police report

Law enforcement officers who respond to a car accident typically prepare what is known as an incident report, which you can request a copy of. Standards and timelines vary per jurisdiction, but getting your hands on a copy of this report is important because it contains statements from the drivers involved, passengers, and witnesses, in addition to the officer’s personal assessment of which laws were violated, if any. 

Fail to keep records

Never throw away any receipts or bills related to your accident—be it repairs for your vehicle or medical expenses due to any physical injuries incurred because of the incident. These may be important for any reimbursements or claims for damages. That said, it would be helpful to maintain a log or journal specifically for the accident to allow you to keep better track of everything.

Your advocate after a car accident

Evidence collection can be an overwhelming process, and it is always in a client’s best interests to work with an experienced car accident attorney who has an extensive background in car accident settlements and lawsuits. Ellis Helm, APC offers free initial consultations. You may contact us online or call 951-875-6870. Home visits and evening and weekend appointments are available upon request. We represent clients in Temecula, Corona, Murrieta, Riverside, Fallbrook, and many other cities in the area.