Anyone who has been in a car crash knows how jarring and frantic it can be. While many people realize that they should exchange information with the other driver(s)—perhaps even call the police—they do not necessarily know just how important it is to take pictures of the accident scene in order to protect themselves, as well as ensure that they receive medical attention (in case there are hidden injuries) and speak with a personal injury attorney.
While your attorney will help protect your interests in terms of the other driver(s) and any insurance companies involved, documenting the circumstances of the accident through evidence such as pictures is absolutely imperative if you want to protect yourself.
This is especially important given how many cases each year involve circumstances that are disputed, or where fault is difficult to pinpoint. Accident scene photographs can become the only proof of what caused the accident, any related factors involved, and how any victims suffered as a result.
Having a list of what the priorities are in terms of taking pictures can be helpful in the chaos after the accident. We would suggest capturing the following on your camera or Smartphone, at a minimum:
- Property damage: vehicles, other property, signs, etc.;
- Skid marks and related evidence, such as any indication of weather conditions;
- Your injuries and the others involved in the accident;
- Stop signs, yield signs, and traffic lights;
- Passengers, police officers, witnesses, and any others present at the scene;
- Any surrounding buildings (such as convenience stores and gas stations) in case they end up having security cameras; and
- Anything and everything you think could be relevant to the accident.
In doing so, make sure that there is a reliable way to document date and time to accompany the photos. If you are unable to take photos, ask a friend, family member—even a witness—to take pictures on your behalf. It is important that you take these pictures as quickly as possible, before injuries have a chance to heal or allegations can be made that certain events or conditions were unrelated to the accident itself. Witnesses are important to have regardless of pictures, as they are presumably unbiased and can testify on your behalf.