How To Document Auto Accident Damage
Taking the appropriate steps after an accident could help you preserve valuable evidence of the accident in which you were involved. Having the evidence allows you to protect yourself against auto insurance company’s lawyers who want to discredit every claim you make. All they want to do is save the company money. It is no wonder why insurance companies have huge skyscraper buildings and show incessant television ads. Insurance companies do not want to pay out claims. They want to take premiums from their customers and pay out as little as possible. The auto accident attorneys at Stein & Shulman, LLC can help. They know how to handle insurance company lawyers and obtain the financial compensation to which their clients are entitled.
There are a few steps you can take after an accident to document the damage to your vehicle when it is involved in an accident.
Here are a few tips to think about when documenting accident damage:
- Take photographs, lots of them. You can never have too many. Take pictures of your car, the other car, the roadway where the accident happened, the lighting in the area and make sure you save those photos. They may come in handy one day.
- You should obtain copies of police reports as soon as possible. Police reports are the official record of the crash. Make copies for you and your attorney. Retain your copy in a safe place. You should make a request of the police department who responded to investigate the crash for any calls to police via 911 or another number. Ask for the dispatch log, dispatcher’s notes, and car-to-car calls, sometimes referred to as “turret tapes.” These items contain incredibly valuable information. You should be aware the police reports remain on file but 911 calls and car-to-car calls do not. Therefore you should try to get a copy as soon as you can before they are destroyed. You should be able to get these through a simple public records request. Your attorney can help you acquire these items if you need help.
- Save all of your paperwork. Think of paperwork broadly. Keep every piece of paper you received regarding your accident. Every repair estimate, tow slip, and most certainly every letter or piece of correspondence you receive from your insurance company or the other driver’s insurance company. Keep the originals and give copies to your attorney.
- Write down your thoughts and memories of the accident as soon as you can after the crash. The closer in time to the crash you write your recollections down, the better and more accurate they will be. Be as thorough as possible. Try to recall where you were coming from, where you were going, the speed of your car before the accident, what you recall immediately before the accident, the surroundings, and what happened immediately after the accident. Try to identify witnesses, if at all possible. Also, pay close attention to how your car operates after it is repaired contrasted with how the car operated before the crash.
The more evidence you have, the stronger your claim will be. Sometimes the claims process is slow and time passes. Long before you know it, two years have passed since the crash, and now the insurance company lawyers are asking you questions about the collision, forcing you to rely on your fading memory. But if you take the steps necessary to document as soon as you can after the crash, the insurance company lawyers will not be able to trip you up or try to argue that you are exaggerating. By following some, if not all of the suggestions listed above, you will be an in a much stronger negotiating position.
Experience Matters. The Chicago auto accident law firm of Stein & Shulman, LLC has over 45 years of combined legal experience in representing individuals who were injured by the negligence of others.
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