Gathering Evidence After a Raleigh Car Accident
After a car crash, once everyone is safe, you will need to report the collision and start collecting the information you will need to defend yourself from taking on undeserved blame for the accident. In this way, you and your Raleigh car accident injury attorney can protect your right to get the compensation you need for your property damage, medical costs, and more.
This is especially true in North Carolina, where contributory negligence means that if you can be held so much as one percent at fault for a car accident, you would lose all ability to collect compensation. As immediately taking down evidence can help out your insurance claim or injury lawsuit, here are a few tips on how to gather photographic evidence and witness testimony.
Taking Pictures of the Crash
One of the most important things you can do in gathering evidence is one of the first things you should do. Any camera, whether it’s disposable or on a cell phone, can do the job. If you have a camera that will put a time stamp on the picture, make sure that the camera has that setting on. It may be too early to tell what evidence is most important, so as a safe bet, you might as well take a picture of everything you can. You will definitely need to capture any of the following that apply:
- Your vehicle and its condition; definitely take pictures of the damage
- Any other vehicles and the damage that they took
- Skid marks
- Debris, such as shards of glass or broken vehicle parts
- The scene as a whole
- Road and weather conditions
- Visible injuries that anyone has sustained (whenever you have permission to do so)
Ideally, you can take pictures from five feet away, then about 15 feet away, and then again at 20 feet or more away, when possible. You can catch numerous angles, try using flash and no flash for the same pictures, and capture a common object in each photo for scale, etc. With an abundance of pictures, you will hopefully be able to document everything you need to establish in your insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit.
Talking to Witnesses of the Accident
You might be able to interview witnesses at the scene, but it is better to simply get everyone’s contact information so that you can reach them in the near future. At whatever point you, your lawyer, or an insurance adjuster calls, a witness will first need to state:
- When they came across the accident
- Where they saw the accident from
- Where they were going and where they had come from before the crash
- How well they could see the accident, etc.
Then you can ask what it is that they observed first-hand. You only want facts, not interpretations or second-hand information. Otherwise, some information, like what a witness heard other people say, could be thrown out as evidence because it is “hearsay“, potentially jeopardizing your case.
Often all you need is to ask is that a witness give his or her account of the chain of events, but pay attention to see if you need to ask further questions in case there are some blanks that need to be filled. Here are some things that need to get nailed down in witness testimony:
- The setting: the intersection, lane, signs, which way the vehicles were going, etc.
- The condition of the weather and the roadway
- Their report on the accident, their report of sights, sounds, and other sensations. An important observation is each car’s movements, leading up to, during, and then after the crash.
- Approximations of each vehicle’s speed, how long it took for events to transpire, distances between vehicles and the intersection, etc.
Hire An Attorney
If you need a legal advocate to defend your rights with an insurance company, or if you are looking for the best Raleigh personal injury lawyer possible to handle your injury claim, do not hesitate to give our firm a call. At the Whitley Law Firm, we have more than 38 years of legal experience. Find out today how our legal team could help you!