You Should Take Photos After An Accident
If you’re in the unfortunate position of getting involved in a traffic accident, there’s going to be a lot to process. Understandably, it’s going to be difficult under such circumstances to maintain a cool head, and start thinking pragmatically about how to proceed next. And yet, at the same time, being able to do so at the scene of an accident can be one of the best things you can do for yourself, especially if the other driver was at fault.
If there is significant damage, or worse yet, injury, that is involved in your accident, you’ll want to have as much information and evidence in your favor to assign fault and make sure that the people responsible are held liable.
With the right kind of information and evidence, what might have initially looked like a painful case to resolve in court could be quickly dismissed as an accident where you are owed compensation. But it all hinges on you being able to provide the evidence that shows you’re in the right. Taking photos of the accident can often be one of the most efficient, direct and, most important of all, irrefutable ways to establish fault in an accident.
So what kind of photos should you be taking?
Most people now have a camera on their person in the form of the ubiquitous smartphone, so actually having the right hardware available isn’t the issue these days. So, with camera in hand, assuming it works, your first and most obvious target should be the vehicles themselves. It’s important for the purposes of damage assessment to have the photos be as “boring” as possible. This is, after all, an accident, so moody angles and close-ups fit for posting on social media is not what you should be aiming for here.
Get good “profile” shots of the vehicles; front, back and side. Make sure that the entire vehicle is in the frame, and that the image is sharp, with the lighting being flat and adequate. You don’t want shadows or distortions here, the goal is to plainly display the damage. Do this for both your vehicle as well as the other vehicle or vehicles involved in the accident. Ensure that license plates are clearly, legibly viewable in your photos.
This might surprise you, but if you want to cover all the bases, another thing you should consider is photo-graphing relevant documents. This is also a good indicator for you about just what kind of situation you’re facing with the other driver. A driver that is honest and wanting to amicably resolve the accident situation will not only be willing to share the required documents, such as insurance and license, but should be okay with you taking clear photos of these records.
A person who doesn’t want this information preserved when you ask should already set some alarm bells ringing. If the other driver is already not cooperating at this early stage, even before police arrive, or insurance investigators start doing their work, you know that you need to prepare for some heavy opposition when it comes to owning up to fault.
The Accident Site
This is another important aspect of your photography, especially if the vehicles have impacted on the environment somehow. If there are tire skids, broken barriers, damaged street lighting, or anything else that conveys the scale of the accident and how it played out, take the time to photograph it.
All aspects of the environment are critical to providing evidence, so make sure to take in the scene and photograph things like the traffic, the positioning of traffic signs and lights, or any other elements. You may not realize it now, but you’ll be certainly glad you took all these photos if the other driver tries to evade fault by claiming the roads were slippery with rain, and you have evidence showing that the road was bone dry, with photos to prove it.
Last, but not least, if there are injuries, this is something that you’ll also want to document, if possible. Insurance companies and their investigators may rely heavily on this. And, sadly, in some cases, it may be important to document this evidence now, in order to prevent fabrication later. That photo you took of the other driver, looking completely unharmed, may save you later, when the driver claims to have sustained a bleeding head injury, and your photos prove that it must have been inflicted after the accident, so the “my word against yours” argument falls apart in the face of cold, hard, undeniable photographic evidence.
Once someone else denies responsibility for an accident you know is not your fault, it’s going to be an unpleasant battle. But getting the evidence you need early, and then getting the advocacy of a good car crash lawyer can be critical to winning this legal battle.