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Auto Accident Investigations- What Should I Be Getting?

At the scene of an auto accident, take a moment to breathe and remember to gather specific information if possible.


Investigation of the serious vehicle accident depends largely on the type of accident that occurs. Statistically, most accidents occur at intersections, either in the form of a rear-end collision or failure to yield, but the majority of these are not so serious that immediate investigation at the scene or detailed follow-up is required. Many serious auto claims involve cargo-carrying trucks, and highway accidents can involve a variety of coverage claims.


  • Get a copy of the motor vehicle accident report, if any was done by the police (in the case where it's a reportable incident involving injury or damage to a vehicle that renders it inoperable);
  • Get as much information about the other driver as possible. Name, address, phone number, vehicle make, model, year, and VIN, name of their insurance company, and policy number are all things that will be needed. If possible take photos of their license, vehicle registration, and insurance cards.
  • Get a copy of your insurance declaration page. The information provided by your insurance will note the coverage limits and whether or not you have "full" or "limited tort" options;
  • Note the names, telephone numbers, and addresses of any witnesses at the scene;
  • Get photos with your phone. Take as many photos of the collision, vehicles, location, and other witnesses at the scene as possible. In a digital age, snapping 50 photos is not outrageous. Take photos of any injuries either at the scene or at the hospital. If not taken to the hospital, make sure the photos are taken in a well-lit area. To avoid shadows, take photos of the body in a corner.
  • Note the weather conditions at the time;
  • Get a copy of any medical records;
  • Get a copy of any medical leave paperwork submitted to your employer, noting the amount of time off and dollar amount lost.

There is no such thing as a "magic list" of items for every case, but if you have the above-listed items, you are well on your way to having a fair amount of detail for your attorney or insurance provider.