Anyone that has been involved in a car accident, knows that the moments following the collision can be chaotic and full of stress and emotion. Often your mind is racing and your adrenalin is pumping. Always check your surroundings and the condition of those in your vehicle first. Make sure you or someone calls 911 and if possible get yourself and others to a safe place.
Unless your injures or injuries of others prevents you from doing so, it is important that you document the scene, position and condition of the vehicles involved. Because virtually everyone carries a phone with a camera, it is now easier than ever to take photos of an accident scene.
Take photos of everything involved. Including the roadway, road signs, debris, the vehicles both up close and far away, the positioning of the vehicles in relation to each other and even pictures of the people involved. Early documentation in the form of photos can be the difference between a successful or unsuccessful auto insurance claim.
Photos can be used in all aspects of your auto insurance claim. They can be used to prove fault based on the positioning of the vehicles or road signage present. They can be used to substantiate your injuries by demonstrating the severity of the impact. They can be used to prove who was driving, who was using a seatbelt, and documenting the presence of eye-witnesses.
It is also important to document debris and skid or gouge marks left by the vehicles. These photos can be used by an accident reconstructionist to determine speed and direction of travel.
It is important that your car accident photos have context. Meaning, do not just take tight, up-close photos of the car or road debris. It is important that the photos show how this evidence relates to its surroundings. For example, a tight photo of a speed limit sign, without an indication of its location relevant to the car accident, has limited value compared to a photo showing the sign along with the autos involved.
Try and identify what may change at the scene of the car accident and take photos as soon as possible. For example, did a tree or shrub play a factor in the car accident? Is there a mark on the road that will be gone with the next rain? Are there tire tracks in the grass or mud?
Taking photos does not end at the scene of the car accident. It is important that you document your injuries and the healing process daily. These photos can be used to show your long healing process and the pain and suffering you endured.
If you are physically unable to take photos, try and recruit a family member or friend to take photos as soon as possible, even if this means after the vehicle as have been removed from the scene.
Christopher W. Goode, is a national recognized trial attorney and founder of Goode Law Office PLC. While his practice is diverse, he is committed to only representing injured individuals from automobile collisions to nursing home neglect and abuse to product liability claims. He is a past president of the Fayette County Bar Association and is a frequent speaker on legal topics. Chris currently serves as a District Vice President for the Kentucky Justice Association. He can be reached at [email protected] or www.goodelawyers.com.