An accident scene can be chaotic and confusing. Worse still, it is frightening for someone whose life has just been endangered in an auto accident. It is difficult to know what to do after an accident happens. Your first priority should always be the safety of everyone involved. If your vehicle can be moved, pull off the road. If the vehicle is not drivable, you should leave the vehicle and get to a safe spot out of the way of traffic. Call 911 and request an ambulance if anyone has been injured.
Once you have ensured that everyone is safe and any medical needs are being addressed, you should begin to collect the evidence you will need for your insurance claim. Photos are one of the best sources of documentation. Luckily, most drivers have a smartphone immediately available to take photos and videos after an accident. The following are some things you should take photos of at the scene of an accident.
In order to open an insurance claim, you will need the other driver’s information. The easiest way to get this is to simply take photos of the other driver’s license, insurance card, and license plates. You should always get a photo of the other driver’s license plate in case he or she becomes difficult to track down later.
The Larger Accident Scene
Once each insurance company opens a claim, it will begin its own investigation of the accident. The first step of the investigation is to determine who was at fault (“liable”) for causing the accident. This is because the driver who is at fault has a legal obligation to pay injury victims for losses caused by his or her negligence. Either driver can be found at fault for the accident. Liability can also be assigned to two (or more) drivers.
For example, three drivers could each be found one-third (33 percent) at fault for causing an accident. Or one driver could be assigned 80 percent liability, and another can be assigned 20 percent. Each at-fault driver must then compensate injury victims for whatever portion of their losses he or she caused. For example, the 80 percent at-fault driver would have to pay 80 percent of the injury victim’s total medical bills, pain and suffering, lost wages, and other losses.
In order to determine who was at fault for causing the accident, the insurance company needs to understand how the accident happened. This is where photos of the entire accident scene can be useful.
The Cars Involved
Part of your insurance claim will be for the damage to your vehicle. Be sure to get photos of both vehicles to document the damage each one has sustained. These photos can also be used to corroborate how the accident happened.
An Experienced New Jersey Personal Injury Lawyer for Car Accident Cases
Attorney Scott G. Leonard has spent more than twenty years defending the legal rights of New Jersey car accident victims. Call (973) 984-1414 or contact us online to schedule your free consultation with a New Jersey car accident lawyer.