Meadville Tribune

Letter of the Law

March 27, 2006

The Importance of Gathering Evidence at the scene of an Accident

by Alan Pepicelli Esq.

(Continued)



Other operator’s driver’s license number.

Other vehicle owner’s full name, address and telephone number.

Other vehicle owner’s insurance company and policy number.

License plate number of other vehicle.

Make, model and year of other vehicle.

Full name, address and telephone number of any witnesses.



Obtaining such information is important, in order that such persons may be contacted at a later date.



II. OBTAINING PHOTOGRAPHS OF THE SCENE:



I advise clients to keep in their glove box a disposable camera, in case they are involved in an accident. These cameras are inexpensive, take reasonably decent photographs, and may provide vital information, in the event of a crash, such as position of the vehicles after the accident, location of accident debris, skid marks or gouge marks in the pavement. Obviously, photographs should only be taken if it is safe to do so.



In the event that it is impossible to obtain photographs immediately following the accident, or prior to removal of the vehicles from the scene, it is nonetheless important, as soon thereafter as is reasonably practical, to take scene photographs depicting the location of any known skid marks, gouge marks, sign, guard rail, or tree damage, as well as the topography of the roadway, curves, gradient, dividing lines, fog lines, sight distance, etc., leading up to the place of the crash, taken from both directions.



III. OBTAINING PHOTOGRAPHS OF VEHICLES:



Following an accident, vehicles are generally removed and taken to a repair facility, or, in the event of a total loss, to any one of several local storage facilities, where they remain for a short period of time. Thereafter, because of cost considerations, insurance companies remove the vehicles to regional facilities to be destroyed or sold as scrap. It is critical, as soon as is reasonably possible following an accident, to obtain multiple photographs of each of the vehicles involved, depicting the extent of vehicle damage (inside and out). Such photographs may subsequently prove extremely helpful for the purpose of establishing the nature of the accident, the mechanism of injury, and the magnitude of the crash.

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Letter of the Law
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