Okay, after an auto accident, there’s lots of information to obtain.
The first thing you’re going to get is a driver exchange information Sheet. It’s that onion skin piece of paper. It’s just one page and Section 1 will have the person whose fault is.
#2 will probably be your name, who was the victim of the accident. You need that information because it has the insurance company’s name on the other side. It’s got the driver information sheet for what the police officer’s name was.
It’s got your claim number.
Ten days after the accident, a four-page report will be generated by the officer. In that report, it will assign fault, it will assign conditions, it will have a little diagram of it. It will also have a written thing, “Vehicle 1 was traveling down eastbound on I-4 ran into the back of the person.” It’s kind of the road map for going forward.
If you don’t have that information, it’s hard to open the claim.
Next, witnesses, anybody that’s there, “Hey man, give me a card.” They’re not going to be on the accident report a lot.
Also, and real important now, if you’re a passenger in the vehicle, you better be on that short information sheet, or you don’t have a claim. So somebody’s in your backseat; don’t just let them put, Frank Eidson, driver, GEICO Insurance.
Make sure that John Smith is on there as a passenger in your car because if he’s injured, he won’t have a claim and the insurance company’s denying.
Finally, I like to keep anything that’s kind of like evidence; a broken toy in the back of the car that got thrown around, I hate to say this but maybe a bloody spot on your shirt, something, a picture’s worth of 1,000 words, that if I am in front of a jury, I can show them, “Look, here’s something real, little Johnny’s broken toy,” “hey, here’s the shirt where her face hit the dashboard, went down and bled on there.”
That kind of information, the insurance information, the accident information, the witness information and any tangible things are initially what need to be locked up within the first few days of an accident.