Tips for Taking Photographs After a Car Crash
Finding yourself in a car accident can be a stressful and frightening experience. The last thing you want to do is think about taking photographs after the crash. However, taking car accident scene photos will make a massive difference in the handling of your insurance claims and in any potential future legal issues that arise from the wreck. Knowing what types of pictures to take and what content will be needed for your insurance company and/or attorney is essential to a car crash accident victim. As in all motor vehicle accidents, those involved should immediately call emergency services to come to the scene, including medical services if anyone is injured and the police. While waiting for emergency services to arrive, take a moment to capture photos of the car accident. Only do this if you are physically able to and the area surrounding the accident is safe. You never want to put yourself into danger to get photographs. As such, our tips for taking photographs after a car crash include:
- Safety first: When an auto accident occurs, the most important thing to do is to stay safe. Do not attempt to take photos if you are seriously injured or are stuck in your vehicle. Wait for emergency personnel to help. If there are cars speeding down the road near the accident and you cannot safely take photos, do not attempt to do so. There may be bystanders, witnesses, or others who can help take pictures for you. Make sure to exchange contact information with these individuals so they can send you the photos.
- Get the bigger picture: Move to a safe area near the scene of the accident that will allow you to take pictures of the entire area from several angles. Make sure to include the position of the vehicles that were in the accident as they relate to each other, to the road, and to any other nearby objects like trees, buildings, and signs. Pictures that show all vehicles involved in their resulting positions after a crash will help demonstrate how the accident happened.
- Document all damages: Take pictures of the damage to all vehicles involved. Walk around the perimeter of the vehicles and take pictures of each dent, scratch, broken window, deployed airbags, and any other signs of damage. If it is safe to take a picture of the insides of a vehicle, do so carefully. On top of the photos, you can take a video walking around each vehicle to show the damages. If there was damage to surrounding property, take pictures of that as well. Look at guardrails, street signs, sidewalks, trees, and/or anything that could have been hit during or as a result of the crash. If any items inside your car were significantly damaged, they should be photographed for your insurance claim. This may include a phone, jewelry, purse, clothing, child safety seats, etc.
- Photograph all injuries: If you have suffered a visible physical injury, have it documented while you are taking accident scene pictures. A witness may be able to take a picture for you. Only take photos of your own injuries. Never take photos of someone else’s injuries, especially if you have not been given consent to do so. If you are able to take photos of witnesses, that can be helpful for future identification, but only do so if they have given you permission.
- Document your surroundings: Take photos of the position of all traffic lights, signs, and other safety indicators relative to the crash. This will provide important context for accident reconstruction specialists and investigators. If you are able to see any skid marks, debris, broken glass, or leaking liquids on the street, capturing images or video of these items can help indicate how the accident occurred. Be sure to avoid stepping in broken glass and unknown liquids that may leak after a crash.
- Take note of the weather conditions: While car accidents can occur at any time of day and during all types of weather, if it was raining or snowing and the roads were slippery, that may have been a contributing factor to your crash. If it is extremely sunny outside, the sun can potentially blind a driver which can lead to a crash. Take photographs that show what the weather was like at the time of the car accident.
- Documents matter: After a car accident, you may be in shock and not even know it. Your hands may be shaking, and it could be difficult to write information down. Taking a picture of the other party or parties driver’s license, registration, and insurance information will ensure you have accurate details. Also take a photo of the police report reference number when the police officer gives you that information. Being one digit off for any document number can make it very difficult for the insurance company and your attorney and can delay much needed compensation.
- Never edit the photos: When taking car accident photographs, never add filters or crop the photos as you might when posting a photo to social media. When gathering information, the police, insurance company, and your attorney need the facts. Any sort of editing can alter an otherwise accurate representation of important details. Take the pictures and keep them in their original form.
- Any camera will do: When taking car crash photographs, keep in mind that you are trying to preserve evidence – not win any awards for photography. Any type of device will do for taking photos. You do not need to keep a camera in your car. Use your smartphone camera or tablet camera if you have it with you. A disposable camera is also an option. Check your camera settings to make sure that there will be a time stamp, including an accurate notation of the time and date you take each picture.
- Even if you think it may be your fault, take pictures: While no one wants to cause an accident, even if you may think the collision may be partially your fault you need to take accident scene photos. Having a set of accident scene photographs is a good way to have an indisputable record that shows every detail of the accident after it has occurred.
Being prepared for a car accident by knowing what types of photos to take will help relieve stress when trying to put together a picture of just what happened. These photos will be essential to your insurance claim as well as any future legal proceedings, including litigation.
Northern California Car Accident Lawyers
We know just how awful a traumatic experience like a car accident can be for you and your family. The car accident lawyers at Curtis Legal Group are here for you. Our attorneys will help you recover financial damages for medical costs, lost wages, and pain and suffering. You can trust our experienced team of personal injury lawyers to handle all the legal aspects of your case so you can focus on healing. Contact us if you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident and want to discuss the next steps. Under the law, there is limited time to make a claim, so contact us today!