According to PennDot’s 2016 Pennsylvania Crash Facts & Statistics, 1 of every 43 people in the state was involved in a reportable traffic accident in 2016. There was an average of 9 injuries per hour on Pennsylvania roads that year. Knowing the best ways to document the evidence on the scene could make or break your case against a negligent driver from a legal standpoint and make the difference between adequate compensation and real hardship in terms of medical bills, missed time at work, and pain and suffering. This evidence includes taking car accident photos at the scene.
If you’ve ever been involved in a car crash, you know the feelings of confusion that can happen in the aftermath. At the very least, your plans for the day are upended, and you may begin to worry about missed meetings, lost time at work, the time your car will be in the shop. If you or a loved one has been injured, it can be devastating.
Preserving Evidence After an Accident
Photographic evidence can tell a story that words, however accurate, cannot replicate. While notes will be very important, photographic evidence can corroborate your account of events. Photos will also help to eliminate fabricated information provided by others involved in the accident. If the other driver claims that there was an intense glare from the sun that factored into the accident and there wasn’t, it will be your word against theirs — unless you’ve taken photos.
It is important to control the evidence in order to prove your side of the case. The other driver will tell their own story by what photo evidence they choose to include and what they leave out. You want the angles, perspectives, and shots that depict as fully as possible any injuries and damage to your property. This will help you take control of your side of the story.
Of course, the safety of all those involved is paramount after an accident. Get to a safe place and call 911 as soon as possible. Assuming that you’re well enough, preserving evidence should be your next concern. Once you leave the accident scene and the vehicles have been cleared, there’s no going back, and many aspects of the incident will be a matter of your word versus the other driver’s. Think about the difference between hearing a story and seeing photos of what happened. Words are abstract, but a photo evokes emotion and establishes an objective point of view. Taking car accident photos to present your side could be absolutely pivotal in establishing legal responsibility for the accident.
The Most Important Photos to Take
Below is a list of the most important views you will want to document in the aftermath of a car accident. Take the time to double-check that the timestamp on your phone or other camera is set correctly, as this information will be valuable for your case.
Start with your own injuries and those of any passengers in your vehicle. If you are the sole occupant of your car, ask for help in taking photos of yourself as soon as a witness or police officer appears on the scene. Bruises make take time to show or can get worse, so keep an eye on painful spots in the days following the accident and photograph any new injuries as soon as they appear.
Take pictures of the injuries sustained by other drivers if possible; however, do not under any circumstances share photos of others on social media or with anyone besides your lawyer or the police.
Property Damage, Including All Vehicles Involved
Take as many photos as possible of both the interior and exterior of all vehicles involved. Evidence of shattered glass, dents and scratches, and damage to any surroundings including signs, buildings, fences, and any other objects involved in the crash are vital to your case. If there is any blood on your car surfaces, be sure to document that as well.
Try to take photos that establish the make and model of any other cars involved in the accident.
Taking Car Accident Photos of the Surroundings
Taking car accident photos of the scene from multiple perspectives is very important. Take as many photos as possible and zoom in and out. What were the general conditions at the time? Where did your car wind up after being hit? Who hit who? Take pictures of any houses or businesses that are in visual range of the accident location. Photos of the surroundings will go a long way towards establishing answers to these questions.
Make sure to take photos of traffic lights, stop and yield signs, speed limit signs, and any other signage that was in view from your perspective and the other driver’s perspective at the time of the crash.
Witnesses, Police Officers & Other Drivers
Taking car accident photos of all of the important people on the scene will make it easy for your attorney to reach out to others who may have important information to add to your account. If you can take a picture of witnesses holding their business card or driver’s license, that will make them easy to identify.
Weather Conditions at the Accident Scene
In addition to the general photos of the scene that will establish weather conditions, aim your camera at the sky to document clouds or glare that may be present. Although those conditions can change from minute to minute, at least you will have such photos in case the other party falsely claims that weather was a factor.
License Plates and Insurance Cards
Smartphones eliminate the need for you to pull out a pen and paper at the scene of an accident like in the old days. Make it easy on yourself and simply take photos of the other party’s details, making sure to double check that the photos are clear before you depart the scene.
Take More Photos Than You Think You Need
When taking car accident photos, the most important thing to remember is to take plenty of them. Don’t overthink things. If you have the presence of mind to take out your camera and start snapping photos, you are ahead of the game.
Even if you have an older phone without zoom or the capability for high-resolution images, don’t worry! Do the best you can with the tools you have. Your attorney will thank you later.
Trust the Best Car Accident Lawyers in Delaware County
It is always a frightening experience when you’re in a car crash, even when your injuries are minor. The worst injuries are often emotional and psychological. Rest assured that you do not have to face this situation alone. The car accident lawyers at Donaghue & Labrum have decades of experience working on behalf of accident victims, and we know how to get you the compensation you deserve. We serve Delaware and Chester counties, as well well as Philadelphia and the surrounding areas. Call us now for a free consultation, and leave all the stress and difficulties to us. It’s our job to fight for you!