What Evidence Might Help My Car Accident Case?

Experience Lawyer for Car Accident

Immediately after a car accident, even a seemingly minor one, collect as much evidence as possible.

Evidence helps bolster your insurance claim for compensation for your damages, such as medical bills and lost wages. It also establishes the burden of proof should your insurance claim need to go to trial. In other words, evidence helps you prove that another person’s negligence caused the accident that injured you, resulting in damages.

Collect several forms of evidence from the accident scene and in the days after the incident to help your car accident case or you can get legal help from car accident lawyer, who can guide you to collect evidence.

Evidence to Collect From the Scene of the Accident

You may feel disoriented and in shock immediately after a car accident. Once you assess any injuries and notify the police and emergency services, if you can, collect the following evidence:


Most people have smartphones or cellular phones with a camera.

Take as many photos as possible of the accident scene, such as:

  • Damage to the vehicles involved
  • Injuries sustained by those involved
  • Any debris from the collision
  • Skid marks
  • Road hazards or obstructions
  • Property damages caused by the accident

Witness Testimony

Ask for the name and contact information of eyewitnesses to the crash whether or not they were in the accident. Also, ask if they will recount what they saw or heard. Record or write down what they say. Record witness testimony immediately after the accident because, in time, memories fade, and you can lose essential details.

Initiate a Police Report

After a car accident, California law requires you to call the police or the California Highway Patrol (CHP) to the scene if anyone suffered injuries, even minor scrapes, and bruises; if there is more than $1,000 in property damage; or if any drivers are intoxicated.

When in doubt about whether your accident warrants calling 911, call anyway.

Reporting the accident establishes a police report and ensures you have fulfilled your legal obligations. Ask the police or CHP how to get a copy of the police report. You will need this as evidence.

Information From Others Involved

You will need to share information with others involved in the accident, such as:

  • Name and contact information
  • Driver’s licenses of all drivers involved
  • License plate number and state of all vehicles involved
  • Car insurance information from all drivers involved (policyholder’s name, insurance company, policy number, expiration date, etc.)

Vehicle’s Event Data Recorder or Dash Cam Video

Some vehicles have black boxes containing data such as a vehicle’s speed, braking, steering, and other details. Some vehicle owners have dash cams that record visual events. These sources could help you after a crash.

Preserve Your Clothing

If possible, preserve the clothing you wore during the accident. Don’t launder or wash them in any way, regardless of how soiled they are. Seal them in a bag and put them in a safe place. Your clothing could provide compelling evidence should your case go to court.

Evidence to Collect After an Accident

In the days following an accident, you’ll want to gather more evidence to help strengthen your car accident case, such as:

Contact Your Insurance Company

Deadlines for reporting accidents to your car insurance carrier vary from company to company. Some have a specific deadline, while others require you to report the accident “promptly” or within a “reasonable” time. If you fail to report an accident within a specific time, your insurer could use this as a reason to deny your claim or cancel your policy.

It’s best to notify your insurance company immediately following an accident to avoid missing important deadlines or losing out on compensation. Contacting your insurer doesn’t mean that you have to give them detailed information. Insurance adjusters may use your words against you or get you to admit fault. They might even offer you a quick settlement before you realize the extent of your damages. It’s best to report the accident to your insurance company and let your lawyer handle the details with your insurer.

File a Report with the DMV

California requires that you or your insurance company report the collision to the State of California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) within 10 days if there is more than $1,000 in property damage, or if the accident injured someone (regardless of how minor) or killed anyone. You can report this online by completing a Report of Traffic Accident Occurring in California form, often called an SR-1. The police report is not the same as an SR-1. Failure to notify the DMV of your accident may result in the suspension of your driver’s license.

Medical Bills

Even if your injuries appear minor, see a doctor as soon as possible after a car accident. Often injuries don’t appear until days or weeks later, and you’ll want evidence on your medical records that you sought medical treatment. Save all invoices and payments for medical expenses, including medications, procedures, and equipment that your accident-related injury requires.

Vehicle Repair Bills

Keep any repair estimates and receipts related to the damages to your vehicle, including towing, car rental, and any receipts for replacing or repairing equipment inside your car, such as car seats or laptops.

Paystubs, Income Tax Returns, and Communications with Employer

If your injuries prevented you from working, you may recover compensation for lost income. You can use pay stubs or income tax returns to show your income at the time of the accident. Save any communications with your employer regarding your injury-related absences from work.

Deadline for Filing a Car Accident Case

The evidence you gather after an accident will help strengthen your claim for compensation with the insurance company. Insurers are notorious for offering lowball settlements that don’t cover all your damages. A car accident attorney can negotiate with your insurance company to get you the compensation you deserve. However, if the insurer refuses to offer a fair settlement, you may have to take the insurer to court.

Under California law, you have two years from the accident to file a lawsuit to recover compensation for a car accident. If you miss this deadline, you may not recover compensation for damages. There are some rare exceptions that can shorten or lengthen that deadline. Your car accident attorney can determine the statute of limitations in your case and file your claim within the appropriate deadline.

Speak With a Bakersfield Car Accident Attorney Today

Mickey Fine, Car Accident Lawyer in Bakersfield

Mickey Fine, Car Accident Attorney in Bakersfield

If you suffered injuries in a car accident and want compensation for your medical bills, lost income, and other damages, collect and preserve as much evidence as possible. Medical bills, photographs of the accident scene, and other documents show insurance companies the full extent and value of your damages. This information becomes essential if your insurance claim becomes a lawsuit and goes before a jury.

Your actions to preserve evidence in the minutes, hours, and days following a car accident are critical to getting you the full compensation you deserve in a car accident claim. The Bakersfield personal injury attorneys at the Law Offices of Mickey Fine have the experience, knowledge, and skill to assist you in gathering evidence and building your case. Call (661) 333-3333 or visit us online today for a free consultation and case evaluation.

Car Accident
by Mickey Fine Law
Last updated on - Originally published on