When gathering evidence about the damage and loss caused by an accident, you should:
If the matter goes to a hearing at court you can use this information to prepare a statement. You can attach copies of any diagrams you draw, quotes and invoices you obtain, and photos you take.
It is a good idea to write down exactly what happened in the accident and what damage and/or loss you or the other driver suffered while it is still fresh in your mind. You could make a note or prepare a diary entry.
If you start a court case against the other driver, and need help preparing a statement, see:
Instructions for preparing your statement (Plaintiff) - car accidents and
Sample statement (Plaintiff) - car accidents.
If you receive a claim from the other driver, and need help preparing a statement, see:
Instructions for preparing your statement (Defendant) - car accidents and
Sample statement (Defendant) - car accidents.
If there were witnesses to the accident, you will need their contact details. If you were not able to get these at the scene of the accident, but the police were there, you may be able to get this information from the police. For more information, see
Calling the Police.
After the accident you can contact the witnesses and ask them to prepare and sign a statement about the accident. You can't force a witness to give you a statement. If the case goes to court, you may be able to serve the witness with a subpoena which orders them to give evidence.
A witness statement may be able to provide details about:
For more information, see
Instructions for preparing witness statements - car accidents.
For an example of a witness statement, see
Sample witness statement - car accidents.
It is a good idea to take photos of the damage to your car, to the other car, and any other damaged property.
For example, if you make a claim for a dent to your red car and the other driver denies that they caused that damage and claim that your car was dented before the accident, a photo of the driver's white car, which has your red paint on the area of impact, may help to prove that the other driver is responsible for that damage.
You could take photos of the damage to the other vehicle with your mobile phone or camera.
You should make a sketch of how the accident happened. If you are making a claim, a sketch could help to show that damage was caused because of the contact made by the cars. If you are defending a claim, a sketch could help to show that damage was not caused because of the contact made by cars. You can include the following:
For example, if your car was damaged to the rear left hand corner because the other driver failed to observe you coming out of your parking spot and ran into you as you were reversing, your sketch may be able to show how the cars were positioned and what part of the other car hit your car.
You could neatly label the sketch or you could use a key to show what your picture refers to. For an example of completed sketches see
Sample sketch 1 and
Sample sketch 2.
If the accident has resulted in damage that requires specialist repairs (or the mechanics that you and the other driver visit have very different views about the extent of the damage and the cost of repairs) it may be useful to get an expert report. An expert report could explain what the expert thinks about whether the impact from the accident is responsible for the damage and whether it is likely that the damage existed before the accident. You should get
legal advice about whether an expert report could be useful in your situation.
Expert reports may be expensive. If you get an expert report the author of the report may also need to come to court and give evidence about what they wrote. You should check how much the expert will charge for the cost of the report and any court attendance.
You should make sure you get and keep invoices and receipts for any expenses or loss you experienced as a result of the accident such as towing fees, loss of personal items, loss of use of your vehicle and replacement vehicle hire costs.
If you make a claim against the other driver for your losses you will need this evidence to prove the exact amount of the loss.
You may only be able to make a claim for certain loss you experienced. You may not be able to make a claim for all your losses. For more information, see
What can be claimed?