Car accidents happen in the blink of an eye. And when they are serious, the crash scene can be quite chaotic. There may be onlookers, backed up traffic, ambulances and police; those involved in the accident can be hurt, scared and very confused. All of this activity can be disorienting, and people may not know how to respond initially.
If you are ever involved in an accident, make sure you know where to look for answers and information. By being adequately prepared, you can fully understand what happened and who is to blame.
Looking for clues
In minor accidents, drivers can often figure out what happened on their own. A rear-end collision, for example, is often clearly the result of someone not paying attention while behind the wheel.
However, in more complicated crashes, the clues may not be so obvious. To unravel the details of an accident, it can be necessary to consider:
- Weather conditions
- Road conditions
- Traffic patterns
- The types of vehicles involved
- The points of impact
- Driver history
- Driver condition at the time of the crash
- Cell phone usage
- Driver blood alcohol level
- Witness reports
Each piece of information can be critical to collect, so after a crash, try to take pictures and make notes of anything you can remember, if you don’t require immediate medical attention. You should also be sure you call the police to file a report and see a doctor to document your injuries and receive treatment.
Even if you do not get everything you need right away, you still have some options available to you. Things like accident reconstruction, video surveillance and witness statements to police can reveal valuable details that you might not have been able to collect yourself.
Putting the pieces together
Once you have assembled all of the information you can, you can then decide how to proceed in terms of holding the appropriate party liable. As this Forbes article discusses, several parties can determine fault in an accident, including:
- The individuals involved
- The police
- The insurance companies
- The courts
Whichever party decides fault, they will rely on the information you (and others) gather from the crash. By knowing where to look for answers, you make it easier to build your case and achieve your desired outcome.