After an accident, it’s not uncommon to find yourself in a situation where it’s your word against the other driver’s. Crash scenes can be hectic and confusing. In some cases, accounts of what caused the wreck can be highly disputed and interactions between drivers can be heated.
If you’ve been in a collision with another vehicle, ensure the safety of yourself and your passengers, then take a breath. Dealing with the situation calmly, with a clear head, will serve you better in the long run.
The attorneys at Studinski Law, LLC have served clients in Marshfield, Plover, and other areas of Wisconsin for decades. We know from experience that drivers don’t always agree about the causes of wrecks. Our firm works diligently to investigate accidents, gather evidence, and build compelling cases on behalf of our clients.
When it’s your word against the other drivers, you need facts to support your side of the story. After a collision, if you are able, consider taking the following steps.
To recover damages in an accident claim, you need more than just your word. If you don’t have evidence to back up your account of what occurred (such as proof of road conditions, vehicle positions, etc.), the case may come down to your story versus that of the other driver.
Pictures of the accident scene can go a long way in substantiating your version of the events. Photos can clearly demonstrate key facts of the collision (such as whether the other vehicle hit you from behind). They can also help crash experts analyze evidence such as skid marks, enabling them to determine the location and direction of hard braking.
If you have a smartphone, you have the ability to take high-resolution pictures at the scene of the crash. Use your phone’s camera to capture images of property damage to all vehicles, road conditions (including signage, skid marks, etc.), injuries, and contact information of all drivers and witnesses.
When it’s your word against the other driver’s, the accounts of others who saw the crash can be incredibly helpful to understand the facts. In the aftermath of a wreck, speak with as many people as you can who may have seen what happened. Capture their contact information so you or your attorney can talk to them again. While the perspective of multiple witnesses is ideal, even the testimony of a single credible witness can benefit your pursuit of justice in an accident claim.
Police are not required to come to every scene of a car accident. According to Wisconsin Statute s. 346.70(1), crashes in the state must be reported when they result in:
When someone is visually or obviously hurt, the necessity to call 911 may be straightforward. However, injuries are not always immediately apparent. Unless you are involved in a very minor collision (such as a low-speed fender bender), one of the first things you should do after an accident is call the authorities.
When law enforcement arrives, explain your account of events to the police. When telling your side of the story, do your best to remain calm and stick to the facts. The accident report will include your statement, so avoid exaggerating or suggesting fault on your part.
Law enforcement will perform an initial investigation and talk to other drivers and passengers. A preliminary conclusion may be included in the police report, including how the officers believe the collision occurred and who is responsible.
While an initial finding of fault is not generally admissible in court, the opinion of the responding officers can strengthen your case and make it more difficult for the other side to argue that you caused the crash.
Taking pictures, talking to witnesses, and making a police report are effective ways to prevent your claim from just being your word against the other driver’s. However, it is not always practical or safe for an accident victim to take these steps at the scene.
It’s important to contact a lawyer as quickly as possible after a wreck. An attorney can conduct an investigation and gather evidence that you couldn’t at the time. A lawyer can hire experts to evaluate the facts in your case and offer testimony that supports your claim.
If you were hurt in a crash where it’s your word against the other driver’s, the Wisconsin car accident lawyers at Studinski Law, LLC can help you pursue the compensation you deserve. It’s important to act quickly. Skid marks and the memories of witnesses fade. The sooner we can start gathering evidence to support your claim, the better your chances of achieving the justice you deserve.
Contact us today online or at (715) 343-2850 for a FREE initial consultation. We serve clients in Marshfield, Plover, and all areas of Wisconsin.