Taking photographs of the scene of a car accident is an excellent way to preserve crucial evidence for your claim. It is hard to argue against hard evidence that a photograph presents. Thanks to camera phones, almost everyone has the ability to take photos of motor vehicle accidents directly after they happen. Follow these tips for taking photographs that will best serve your case, should you need them for a subsequent insurance claim or personal injury lawsuit.
Take Photos, Not Video
Call the police and report the crash. While you wait for cops to arrive, start taking pictures. It won’t hurt to also record a video of the scene, but photographs are better for capturing fine details. Investigators can zoom in on photographs in high definition, and get a clear view of small details such as the tread on vehicle tires or brake marks on the roadway. Take as many photographs as you can, and save them to your digital camera or cell phone.
Turn on the Time Stamp Function
Find your camera’s time stamp function and turn it on before taking any photos of the scene or of injuries. This will serve as proof of the date and time you took the photos, which is important for creating a timeline of events. It can also prove you took photos the day of the accident, in case the defense wants to argue you may have returned to the scene at a later date to snap photos when elements of the environment had changed.
Photograph Wide and Close Shots
Take pictures of everything you think might be important to a future crash investigation. This includes all vehicles and properties involved, any injuries, the roadway, street signs, marks or defects in the road, the weather, and anything else that may have contributed to the crash. Take wide-angle shots of the entire scene to capture an image of the setting. Get close-ups of property damage and injuries. The more photos you take before police arrive and begin dismantling the scene to clear the road, the better.
Take Photos of Participants
Get photographs of all other drivers and passengers involved, as well as any bystanders and witnesses. Photograph the police officers, paramedics, and ambulance. Get a shot of anyone going onto a gurney. Documenting who was on the scene of the accident can help you connect faces with witness statements later. This can prevent confusion with identities of witnesses and parties involved.
Photograph Injuries as They Evolve
Snap detailed photographs of your injuries the day they occurred but continue taking photographs as you heal. Take photographs in the days after the accident, capturing latent injuries such as bruising and swelling that didn’t appear right away. Keep careful track of your recovery process to serve as evidence of damages later. Store photos of your injuries alongside your medical records and hospital bills, in a case file.
Return to the Scene
Return to the scene of the crash if necessary, to take photographs with a better camera. You may see things you didn’t in the chaotic aftermath of the crash, such as debris by the side of the road or damaged objects. Collect photos of any remaining evidence and put them with the original photographs you took. Preservation of photographic evidence is just as important as taking the photos. Backup all your photos onto a computer or print out paper versions. Take your photos to a Bakersfield car accident lawyer as soon as possible.