How to Gather Evidence After Being in a Car Accident
Taking action immediately following a car accident may help make the process of recovering damages easier later on, if you qualify to do so. There is certain information you may need to complete your application for Accident Benefits, and additional evidence may be required to prove fault.
According to the Financial Services Regulatory Authority of Ontario (FSRA), you may need to prove your losses and expenses related to the accident and your injuries when pursuing damages. Some of this information may need to be submitted to your insurance company for Accident Benefits, even if you do not pursue a claim against the responsible party.
Gathering Evidence at the Accident Scene
If you are not seriously injured, or if you have a passenger who is able to do so, it may be important to gather evidence after being in a car accident as quickly as possible from the accident scene. Evidence may disappear almost immediately following an accident, and much of it may be gone by the time trucks tow the damaged vehicles away.
- You should talk to the other drivers involved in the accident if it is safe to do so. Record their names, contact information, and tag numbers.
- Use your phone to take a picture of their driver’s license and insurance information.
- Document the accident scene and the damage done to each vehicle.
- Take pictures of your injuries and make a note of any visible injuries you see that others suffered.
- When possible, write down the facts of what happened. Alternatively, you may create a voice memo or a video—anything that may help jog your memory later.
It is extremely important to remember to gather evidence after being in a car accident. Any additional information you may be able to gather or document from the accident may prove useful in the future.
Your Insurance Company May Request Information
Following an accident, you only have a short time to notify your insurer. Missing this deadline could mean they may not honour your request for no-fault Accident Benefits. According to the FSRA, applying for Accident Benefits from your insurer requires you to take several steps:
- Notify the insurance company before the deadline in your policy, usually a week or less
- Complete the Accident Benefits Application Package
- Submit this application and any other requested information to your insurer
As a part of the reporting and application process, you may need to answer questions that include the:
- Make, model, year, registration, and license plate number of your vehicle
- Other driver’s name, license number, and contact information for everyone involved
- Details of the accident, such as date, time and location
- Extent of your injuries
- How many passengers were in your car
- Extent of the damage to your car
- Your side of the story—what happened
- Name of the insurance company and policy number of other involved drivers
- Name and badge number of the investigating officer
If you were able to gather information at the scene, you may be able to refer to that information when completing the application.
Building a Case for Legal Action After an Ontario Car Accident
If you sustained injuries in an Ontario car accident, you may consider whether you qualify to take legal action in your case. A car accident lawyer may be able to answer this question for you. If you are eligible, preparing for a lawsuit may require additional evidence and proof than what was required for the initial Accident Benefits application that you delivered to your insurer. Your lawyer may need information such as:
- Evidence that you suffered severe enough injuries to qualify to take legal action
- Evidence to prove fault and liability
- Evidence to show your injuries, damages, and losses
The evidence available varies from case to case, but may include:
- The accident report filed by police
- The pictures you or someone else took of the accident scene
- Witness testimony
- Accident reconstruction
- The damage to each vehicle
- Your medical records and medical expert testimony
- Other documentation such as receipts and bills to show your related expenses and losses
If you are considering the pursuit of compensation for your accident through legal action, you may want to discuss your options with an Ontario car accident lawyer. If you qualify to take legal action and choose to work with a lawyer, your lawyer may be able to help you build your case by gathering and analyzing much of this evidence.
Talk to a Car Accident Legal Team in Ontario Today
At Preszler Injury Lawyers, a member of our team may be able to help determine if you qualify to take legal action in a fault-based claim, build a case on your behalf, and navigate the legal process for you. Call 1-800-JUSTICE today to learn more. An initial consultation is free.