Car accidents are unfortunately, a part of driving. Even as the most aware driver on the roads, you sit behind the wheel of your car at the risk of being crashed into by other less aware drivers.
Although, for the most part, your car accident claim will be processed in due course and your expenses should be covered by the at-fault driver’s insurance, the claims process can sometimes become clouded. What you need is a record of events from the scene at the time of the accident.
Make your own photographic records (don’t rely on others to tell the truth)
Car accidents can be emotional. Rational thought can go out of the window when we are feeling a little exposed. Instead of keeping our senses about us, we can withdraw and rely on others to represent our interests. To a certain extent, this kind of behaviour is to be expected, but relying on other people should only be a backup to relying on yourself. So, how can you rely on yourself? By making your own records.
You need to take note of all vehicles involved in the crash, taking photos of the licence plates. Taking digital photos will also add a time and date stamp to the accident, and can give the authorities a clear idea of other factors such as weather conditions, whether the road is well maintained, lighting, the existence or lack thereof of road markings, and the visibility and state of repair of road signs.
Things you can’t photograph
Take names and contact details of anyone involved in the accident, as well as the details of any witnesses. You may also wish to note down any injuries, including people complaining of pain in the limbs, chest, or neck. Although not essential, this can be useful information if a person were later to claim more severe injuries than were witnessed at the time of the accident.
Lastly, beware crash-for-cash claimants
Some fraudulent people may attempt to “set up” a crash to claim a payout. If you didn’t see any brake lights come on, for example, the driver may have removed the bulbs with the intention to replace them later. You could raise this issue at the scene, and ask for proof that the brake lights are working.
Another driving scam could involve being crashed into as you make a turn, with the driver of the other car claiming that you cut across them. In reality, they sped up to catch you as you turned across their lane. These people usually have their details already written down, and will approach you with what feels like a rehearsed speech.