A car accident is always a horrible thing, and most car accident attorneys will agree that properly documenting the incident is a must if anyone wants to seek compensation for the injuries they have received and for the damage inflicted to their property.
When accidents happen, every bit of information is vital. Taking pictures and photos of the accident is just one way to make it easier to proceed when claiming insurance or suing someone.
We’ll guide you on what and how to take car accident pictures, which can be presented as evidence in a case.
What to use to take pictures?
Not everyone has a camera or a video cam in hand, especially when an accident happens. Almost everyone has a mobile phone these days, and most of these modern phones have cameras, which can be used to take pictures, videos and audio recordings.
It`s always a good habit to keep extra batteries for your mobile phone in your bag or glove box. Also before documenting the accident with your camera, keep your camera settings on auto to compensate for bad light settings./
Before taking any pictures
A person’s safety comes first before anything else. Be sure to follow these steps first before taking any picture. Afterwards, it will be alright to proceed with the following steps.
- Check yourself first for any injuries, and don’t move if it looks serious. Get medical attention even if injuries aren’t visible.
- Get out of the vehicle and check your surroundings. If one of the other drivers looks like they might drive away, a quick snapshot of their vehicle and plate number is crucial.
- Check the other driver/s if they’re alright. Do not move them especially if they are seriously injured.
- Call emergency services as soon as possible.
- Exchange insurance information with the other drivers.
What and how to take pictures
When photographing accidents, consider first if the images have any value as evidence. The real goal of these photos is to make the court see the scene as if they were actually there.
Take pictures of the car’s exterior, particularly the areas where it’s heavily damaged. At least three different angles are suggested to make the photos more effective.
Next, take shots of the car’s interior. Also include any valuable personal belongings that were damaged or destroyed in the accident, like laptops.
Take pictures of the other vehicles involved in the accident as you did with your car. This is especially important in multiple vehicle accidents.
Scene of the accident
Bad roads and obstructions can cause car accidents, so photos of the surrounding area are also required. Additional photos about the landmarks nearby, the street where it’s located and anything else that can show the area better can help.
Shoot photos of the people that were involved in the accident.
Take pictures of any injuries you received in different angles if you can. Also remember to photograph the other drivers that were injured, after asking for their consent first. If there has been a fatality, avoid taking pictures of the victim, the police are in-charge in those cases.
Weather and time of day
Weather plays a big part in an accident as well as the time of the day; night time driving is always more dangerous.
Take pictures of any scattered parts and debris, as well as the damage they inflicted on the surrounding area. Pictures of skid marks are also important since they fade out eventually.
Save the photos
It’s a good idea to make multiple copies of the photos, then copy them into a computer or a storage device like a USB. This way, if the photos are ever misplaced, lost, destroyed or even tampered with, there are always more copies available. Do not edit those images to enhance or correct anything. This can only be done by the correct officials; often tampering with image/s can make them unsuitable to court.
Video and audio recordings help too
Concrete evidence will always win against personal accounts and hearsay, and photos are just one way of doing it.
Dash cams installed in your car can provide additional evidence via videos, which can help paint a better picture of the accident. Some dash cam models can even record your vehicle’s speed and position using GPS, giving you more evidence to use. (see our article on why getting dash cams can help)
Audio recordings taken from the people surrounding the accident can still help if your car doesn’t have any dash cams equipped.