The ready availability of smartphones with built-in cameras and digital photos in general has revolutionized the practice of law and changed the lives of countless personal injury victims. No longer do courts have to rely solely on accident reports and witness testimony; photos can provide a step-by-step guide to what happened and to whom it happened. You should absolutely take as many photos as your time and safety permit immediately following an accident.
Why Photos Matter
We’ve all heard that a picture is worth a thousand words, and the right photo can be worth several thousand dollars. Photos can help document injuries, prove that a driver executed a dangerous maneuver, and clarify the severity of an accident. Oftentimes, testimony and accident reports lack the emotion and detail that convince juries of just how serious an accident was With the right photo, though, your case may settle before you even see the inside of a courtroom.
What to Photograph
You really can’t take too many photos, and if you’re in doubt, just keep snapping away. Some items that are important to photograph include, but are by no means limited to:
- The conditions surrounding the accident, including traffic and weather. If you can shoot video, for example, showing that traffic is bumper to bumper, then another driver’s speeding can be viewed as even more dangerous.
- Any physical injuries you’ve sustained. Photographing these injuries over the course of several hours or days—particularly if they get worse over time—is especially helpful.
- Any and all property damage, including scratches, major damage, and debris scattered along the road. Don’t forget the inside of your car. Showing that airbags deployed or that everything in your car went flying can show that an accident was sudden, serious, and traumatic.
- Road signs that provide information about safety hazards, the local speed limit, and other road conditions.
- The state of the other driver’s car.
- Any information that is not common sense. For example, take plenty of photos or video if visibility is diminished or road conditions make a specific speed impossible.
Your life is worth more than a lawsuit, and certainly more than a photo. If road conditions are dangerous—particularly at night or if the road conditions are altered due to inclement weather—then only photograph what you can safely shoot. If the other driver becomes aggressive or angry, remember that getting the pictures is not worth risking your safety. Instead, call the police. If police are on the scene, they are willing and able to capture these images, as well.
A little common sense combined with a willingness to document the scene of your crash can go a long way toward helping you recover the maximum possible. You only get one chance to fully document your car crash, so don’t neglect to bring your camera phone with you when you drive! If you have been injured in an accident, call one of the expert Personal Injury Attorneys at McDivitt Law Firm for a FREE consultation. We have been helping auto accident victims for over forty years.