Tuesday, March 10, 2020

You’ve been involved in a car accident. It happened so suddenly and the violent impact has made you a little disorientated. This could last for many days or even weeks, depending on the severity of the crash. You will be in pain of some sort. Even if you’re not injured in a major way, you will only feel your minor injuries once you’re away from the situation. Your adrenaline will be pumping so you could be feeling fine but your body is merely coping with the traumatic event, by releasing endorphins. Once the seriousness of the incident wears off, you will become more wary of what actually happened. It's at this moment that your near future will be up in the air. The other party could blame you for the accident, your license could be given points and you may also be deemed guilty by a court of law. When you are sure it's not your fault, knowing the ways to prove your innocence will be your saving grace.

Seeing is believing

Before the era of smartphones, the only way to prove your innocence without a shred of doubt was to obtain CCTV footage. Despite having smartphones, CCTV footage is still one of if not, the best way to show a court of law that you were not at fault. Seeing is believing as they say and, footage of the accident taking place will leave nobody in any doubt. The cause for speculation will be eradicated if you can get the relevant pieces of footage. It's in your best interest to speak with your lawyer as soon as the crash occurred. Let him or she know where the crash happened and where you have spotted security cameras. Your lawyer will take down the details and make a short list of stores that they can contact in the bid they will release those tapes to him or her. 

However, if there are witnesses to the accident, it's vital that you get them on camera if you can. Usually, citizens will admit to seeing the whole event take place, but they may not want to be on camera. Those that do, get them to introduce themselves before explaining what they saw. Get as many eyewitness testimonies by the side of the road as you can. If someone doesn’t want to get in the camera, kindly ask them to give you their details so you can contact them later on if needed. You may need to entice them with the offer of payment, should you need their testimony in court.

Have your wits about you

When you’re involved in a bad car crash, your fight or flight mechanism will be in full motion. You may become erratic and just try to get to safety. However, it's within your best interest to stay still and take a few deep breaths. When you have your wits about you, you need to immediately start recording the event. Using your smartphone, record from the inside of your car. Make sure you get a 360-degree shot of your surroundings before you get out of the car. Once out, you should record the road if you find any skid marks. This will be incredibly useful in determining who saw who first and tried to stop. It will also indicate who was speeding, by the length of the tire marks on the road. It's a good idea to keep the camera rolling by putting it in your pocket just so you can pick up the sound. You may also want to use voice recording apps that have features allowing you to lower background noise and pick up voices only. Make sure you are recording every single word you speak and what the other party says. This could be your saving grace if it ever arrives at a he-said-she-said scenario in court.

Make special notes

You never know where you may have a car accident. It could be in the middle of a busy city or out in the middle of nowhere in a rural part of the country. You cannot rely on eyewitnesses coming in to corroborate your story. You need to take special notes of the accident. If you can smell alcohol on the breath of the other driver, make a note of this either in writing or in the recording on your smartphone. If you can see alcohol bottles or cans in their car, this is also noteworthy information. 

Is the other driver slurring their words? This is also something you have to take note of, either by video recording or merely in written form. Make sure you are jotting down the time and date, as well as what they were saying when they made it apparent they could be impaired somehow. Take pictures of their tires. If tires are bald they will have much less grip on certain surfaces and conditions. It will take longer for the car to stop and as a result, pose a danger to other drivers. This is great evidence to use against the other party. Are any of their car lights out? If their brake lights are not working properly or perhaps their headlights are uneven, this could confuse other drivers. A badly maintained car by the other driver will help your case, in some cases win it for you.

Refer to police evidence

It's common for police officers to be called at the site of a car crash. It's within your best interest to cooperate fully with the officers at the scene. They will be logging down information and making a crash report which will go down in the police and accident databases. Once it's on this system, it holds a lot of weight in the instance of proving your innocence. Most of the time, officers will take a report down and then notify you when they have logged it into the system. This is for both party’s knowledge as it will be the precursor which then allows legal proceedings to occur. If you are afraid this may happen to you or if you are the person who wishes to initiate the proceedings, then you can use this Accident Report service. It will show you the police’s accident report in full, with all the details the officers saw and took. All you need to do to use it, type in the area ZIP code, the date of the accident, the vehicle manufacturer and the year of your car’s build. 

All this will be used to then locate your accident report and make it ready for printing. Your attorney will want this report before anything else. Since it is the word of law enforcement, it will be the end-all and be-all of any case you put forth. Video evidence is great, but the officers will be trained in explaining certain things that will give your footage creedence. This is not a case of vice versa. 

Record your phone calls

Sometimes the guilty party will try to intimidate or plead with the victim of a car crash, over the phone. This usually occurs when you have pressed legal action and or their insurance company is finding them at fault for the crash. It's so important that you don’t hesitate to record the phone calls. Have another smartphone at the ready so you can do this while taking the call on your own phone. In some states, you have to declare you are recording the other person, but in some, you do not have to. In many cases, it's best not to let the other person know as they will change their story before proceeding any further; thus you’re unable to catch them trying to frighten you. 

Expect the guilty party to try and use subtle language to threaten you. You must try and get the truth of their intentions or feelings out of them without being too obvious. Asking them questions is a very good tactic which will lead them to be defensive and thus, shows their true colors. When they make a threat, ask them to repeat it with an excuse, such as you didn’t hear them. Sometimes recordings can be muffled and thus it provides leeway. When they repeat their threats clearly and thoroughly there is no way of hiding from the facts in court.

Be completely cooperative

It's easy to become overwhelmed by the situation but if the other party is dragging you to court, don’t be intimidated. Be completely cooperative with the police and their legal team. Even if you are absolutely innocent, any form of resistance to document requests or interview requests will be taken as an admission of guilt. Do not slow the process down, in fact, offer to help in any way you can. In the meantime, make your own case by working with a legal team and ask them for advice on what you should do if further requests are made. Hold onto your video evidence and make multiple copies of them so nothing can be lost in the event of a hardware error.

There is a myriad of ways to prove your innocence. You need to work quickly at the scene of the accident, collecting as much video evidence as possible. 


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