After an accident, there are some things that you can do, and some things that you should leave to the professionals. When it comes to car accidents, emotions run high, and it’s hard to separate facts and opinions since you were involved. On the other hand, there are a few things you can do to help your case if you wish. Keep in mind that they are often things that other investigators will also do.
Doing an investigation at the scene of the accident can help paint a picture of how the accident occurred, which will also tell you who is at fault. If you are looking to prove the fault of someone else, it’s crucial to do an investigation. Other people who will also investigate the scene include police officers and the investigators from your insurance company, and the opposing party’s insurance company.
It’s important to investigate because of the time limitations of an accident. The scene of the crash will change, and other things can occur there, which is why the police investigate the scene upon arrival. It is their job to file a police report with their findings after the accident. They will likely take pictures, get information on what happened from both drivers, interview witnesses, and get all contact details.
Is It a Good Idea?
While you can do an investigation on your own, is it a good idea to do so? Most lawyers will tell you that it’s not a good idea to do your own investigation. While it’s understandable that you would want to protect yourself, there’s also a lot of ways that you can make errors and negatively impact your case, and it can end up costing you more money. Your lawyer will likely hire their own reputable investigator who they are comfortable with using, and that person will be able to investigate free of emotions and get the real facts. Your lawyer can also obtain the police report to help determine fault and will ask you for any medical documents you have so they can provide a good argument.
Protecting Your Interests
It is imperative to call the police after the car accident. They will do their own investigation and will be able to provide your lawyer with the information they will need to prove your case. You can do the following things to protect your interest and include them as part of your investigation:
- Take pictures of the scene
- Take pictures of the damage to your car
- Take pictures of your injuries immediately following the accident (after seeing a medical professional).
- Obtain the names of eyewitnesses
- Pay attention to the placement of security cameras at the scene
- Get an extra copy of the police report
- Keep all documents relating to your medical care
What You Should Not Do In Your Investigation:
There are a few things that can hurt your case if you don’t think ahead. Don’t admit fault to the police, the other driver, or another eyewitness. You don’t know what caused the accident, and making assumptions can affect how your case will turn out and how much compensation you will receive. Emotions typically run high immediately following an accident, so it is important to stay in check and not say anything that would imply you were at fault as it can be used against you later.
You can take pictures of physical evidence, but do not take anything from the scene of the accident. That could be used against you later and be seen as tampering. You can, however, take pictures of your clothes after the accident or anything you physically own that was in the accident. Do not attempt to change anything at the scene of the accident to make things look in your favor. It’s likely that pictures were already taken, and the truth has a way of coming to the surface, especially if a witness saw you trying to take pictures after moving things.
Who Should Do the Investigation?
The police will do one, and so will the car insurance companies. You can also hire someone to do an investigation for you, which is a good idea if you have the money to pay for it. In the ideal situation, the accident would be investigated by a professional who has experience in the causation of motor vehicle accidents. This could include your lawyer, safety officers, or an “outside” expert that your attorney is familiar with.
You can do your own investigation. There is no law saying that you cannot. It is in your best interest to let your lawyer do an investigation because they will know how to keep your case and compensation as safe as possible.