There are several reasons why it is a good idea to take pictures at the scene after you have been involved in an automobile accident. Not only does taking pictures provide necessary information to your insurance company to process your claim, but it provides critical information for law enforcement agencies. Let’s examine a few reasons why pictures are necessary and review the correct way to take the pictures.
We live in a society where almost everyone has a camera and video camera built into their cell phones. People can print the photographs, share them on their computers, laptops, and tablets, and forward them to agents with a push of a button. The capabilities of the smartphones and computers include the ability to date and time stamp the photographs. Never before has recording the details of an accident been so easy.
Tell The Story
Taking pictures of the accident scene tells a visual story that helps determine fault and extenuating circumstances. The pictures show the level of traffic, the road conditions and weather, the positions of the cars, and anything that may cause a hazard. This eliminates the need to try to remember which is hard to do when you are upset and/or injured.
Taking photographs documents the damages to the automobile, accident scene, and injuries suffered as they happen. While further information is usually needed such as medical records and repair estimates, the pictures ensure everything is considered.
Use extreme caution when exiting your vehicle and while taking pictures. If the police have arrived, follow their instructions exactly to restore the flow of traffic. Turn on emergency lights and flashers. If needed, place road flares.
Take pictures of the vehicles before they have been moved. Take pictures of the front, rear, and each side of the vehicles involved. Make sure you photograph any internal vehicle damage, such as deployed air bags.
Take pictures of the tags of the vehicles involved. Photograph the insurance card and driver’s license of the drivers involved if possible. Include a picture of any witnesses that are willing to give statements. Using the video function, you can ask for their name, address and phone numbers.
Include any reference points to identify the exact location of the accident. Include road signs, or buildings that are near. Include stop signs, stop lights, and any damaged property such as guard rails.
Check the road for skid marks and photograph them from various angles. (If possible measure the skid marks.)
In the days that follow the accident, bruises and broken blood vessels may begin to show that were not immediately visible. Photograph those injuries and not the date and time. Likewise, photograph any swelling that is present in the days following the accident.
Print your photographs as soon as possible and organize them for ease of use. This will allow you to know if anything was missed or f any photographs are unclear requiring you to re-photograph anything needed.
This information helps your insurance company process your claims and will assist you in recovering damages if the other driver is found to be at fault. Your attorney can use the information to defend you in court if you are falsely accused.