You’ve just been in a car accident: your head is spinning; you’re scrambling to assess the damage to your car and checking to ensure no passengers are seriously injured. In all likelihood, carefully collecting evidence from the scene of the crash won’t be your first priority, but doing so can greatly improve your chances of accessing compensation for any injuries you or your passengers have sustained.

Experienced auto accident lawyers use accident scene evidence to accurately determine what transpired and why you are entitled to compensation. This evidence can come in the form of written documents like police reports, as well as photos and videos. If you are involved in an auto accident, here are the steps you should take:

Emergency Services

When you’re involved in a motor vehicle accident, your first priority should be the safety of the people in your car. Call an ambulance if anyone is injured, and call the police if your car is sufficiently damaged.

The paramedics who arrive at the scene will tend to injuries and provide initial medical records. Seriously injured victims will be transported to a hospital where a more detailed report will be assembled. Ambulance attendants may also be a witness to the accident scene, and can testify about the injuries they observe.

The police will provide an official record of the accident, investigate the scene, and will speak to the parties involved. The information collected by responding police officers may provide valuable insights to your auto accident lawyers.

Drivers and Witnesses

If possible, reach out to other drivers involved in the accident and collect their names, contact details, license, and insurance information, vehicle make and model, and license plate number. You’ll also want to gather names and contact information from witnesses to the accident – your auto accident lawyers may want to speak with them.

Photos and Videos

Assuming you are not seriously injured in the accident, do your best to record videos and take detailed photos of the scene of the accident on your smartphone. Make sure to note weather and road conditions. Document skid marks and tracks left by the vehicles, debris from the crash, and the positioning of the vehicles following the collision. This evidence will help your lawyers determine what directions the involved vehicles were travelling in, and at what speed they were moving.

You should also take photos or videos of any injuries you or your passengers may have sustained. Make sure to record different angles and close-up images.

Finally, catalogue the damage to your car prior to making any repairs. Images of the damage can help establish how your accident came to happen, and how severe it was. After taking photos of the damage, get a mechanic to perform a detailed assessment. Your insurance company may also want to appraise the damage.

Medical Records

Once you’ve collected all necessary evidence from the scene of the crash, you can focus on what matters in the long run: your recovery. Throughout the recovery process, make sure to assemble as much medical evidence of your injuries as possible. Ask your family doctor and any rehabilitative or therapeutic specialists to help assemble a comprehensive picture of your injuries and how they have affected your life.

It is imperative that you seek proper medical advice and care. Doing so will expedite your recovery and provide access to convincing and authoritative evidence that should help you access compensation.

In some cases, your insurance company may ask you to undergo an independent medical examination – discuss this with your auto accident lawyers before you do so.