How to Take Helpful Photos After a Traffic Accident
Evidence gathering is a critical element of settling traffic accident cases. Whether there is injury or not, evidence helps insurance adjusters, attorneys, and courts determine exactly what happened and who is liable. From our perspective as personal injury attorneys, one of the best forms of evidence is the photograph.
We encourage car accident victims to take photographs immediately following a crash if at all possible. Of course, tend to serious injuries and life-threatening conditions first. Then take photographs as soon as it is safe to do so. Photographs can tell the story of accident better than just about anything else.
Thankfully, most smartphones in 2019 have cameras built in. That means your average driver has a camera with him or her at all times. If you do not have a smartphone, you don’t need to spend thousands of dollars on a camera to keep in your car. Even a cheap, disposable camera will do.
Here’s how to take helpful photos after a traffic accident:
1. Photograph the Weather
Photographs depicting weather conditions at the time of a crash are extremely helpful. Perhaps you initiated the accident, but weather played a role in what happened. A few photographs could limit your liability. On the other hand, perhaps you are the victim of a crash that occurred in near perfect weather. Photographs could bolster your case.
2. Photograph the General Location
Next, you want to photograph the general location of the accident. This would include photographs of road conditions, the surrounding road, any intersections that are in play, etc. These kinds of photographs help investigators reconstruct the accident to some degree. They might also point out something that was outside of your control or the control of others involved in the accident.
3. Photograph the Accident Scene
Next, you are going to photograph the accident scene. This includes every vehicle involved. Photograph all of the damage sustained by each car. Take pictures of skid marks, scattered car parts, shattered glass, and any other debris you see laying around. If the accident caused damage to surrounding buildings, trees, etc., take pictures of that as well.
4. Take Pictures of Injuries
Assuming you are not dealing with serious or life-threatening injuries, take photographs of any visible injuries displayed by either you and any others involved. We are talking things like cuts and abrasions, broken bones, black eyes, etc. Note that you need the consent of other parties before taking pictures of their injuries. Do not take pictures of others without it.
5. Details and Different Angles
Remember two key things as you’re taking photographs: details and different angles. Both could be crucial to any litigation you might find yourself involved in.
Where details are concerned, try to capture as much detail as you can in your photographs. Even seemingly trivial details you don’t think will make a difference could prove vitally important to an insurance adjuster, personal injury attorney, or jury.
We recommend taking pictures at different angles as a means of offering a clearer understanding of exactly what happened. You can never go wrong by taking pictures at too many angles. A simple rule of thumb is that more angles means better perspective.
Note that pictures are great evidence in any kind of traffic accident. They are even more critical when an accident involves serious injury or death. Photographs are often the most useful forms of evidence in these kinds of crashes. So if you ever find yourself involved in an accident, take out your phone and take some photographs as soon as it’s safe and reasonable to do so.