When you are involved in a motor vehicle accident you will likely have a million thoughts going through your head, and not be able to focus on any one of them.
After the initial impact you will have some time collect your thoughts, and perhaps those thoughts might turn to what evidence you should collect from the accident, in the event litigation needs to be commenced to recover damages for either the property, or for personal injury.
This three part series will provide information about the types of evidence you should collect, ranging from basic information (part 1), to more technical information that you can gather (part 2) and then finally technical information that can only be gathered by a qualified expert (part 3).
Here is part 2.
2a. Information to request from the police after their investigation
If you are involved in a significant motor vehicle accident the police will most likely be contacted and sometimes forensic testing of an incident scene is required.
That police investigation will sometimes provide useful information in the event you need to make a claim against the other driver for property damage or personal injury.
After the police have finalised their investigations you should request the following information from the Queensland Police Service through their Right to Information proceedures:-
- Measurements taken of the road where the accident occurred;
- Skid tests conducted;
- Copies of witness statements;
- Details of the position of any relevant items of evidence on the road;
- Sketch plan of any other scene evidence such as lighting/ signs/ road markings;
- Details of any vehicles that had been moved after the traffic crash;
- Any reports or other records prepared during the Forensic Crash Unit investigation.
And if the accident involved a heavy vehicle:
- Details of any advices given to the Department of Transport and Main Roads as a result of the accident involving a heavy vehicle;
- Details of examination of the truck driver’s work diary;
- Details of inspection and mechanical condition of the truck.
2b. Information to request from the other drivers (or more specifically their employers) – Motor vehicle accidents involving heavy vehicles
Most trucks operating in Australia will usually have an on board computer, an engine management system or an in-vehicle monitoring system.
These systems relay diagnostic information generally from the truck to Company who owns the truck. This information is used to determine the routes travelled by the truck, the speed travelled, engine RPM’s and rest breaks.
This data can be vital for a motor vehicle accident claim if a heavy vehicle has been involved.
Following an accident involving a heavy vehicle you should request from the vehicles owner a copy of any reports, records or other data for the day of the accident.
2c. Information to request from the local Council or State Government
Some accidents will occur at intersections with traffic lights. When an accident occurs, there is often an argument about who drove through a red light, causing the collision.
Most of these traffic lights will be controlled by either programmed timing, or vehicle detection loops. You might have seen these square marks on the road, just before the intersection.
Depending on whether the road is controlled by the local Council or the State Government, you may be able to gain access to what are known as the ‘traffic loop diagrams’. These diagrams might provide useful information about the traffic light timing, or how the green, orange and red lights interchange.
Sometimes, this information might be enough to prove fault against another driver.
If you have sustained an injury in the accident, your lawyer can gather all of this information on your behalf.