After an auto accident, it can be stressful to try and gather all the details and commit them to memory before it’s all forgotten. Before you go and try to memorize the other car’s license plate number, take a deep breath and reach for your phone or camera. Here’s how to take effective pictures after a car accident.
How Can Photographs Help My Claim?
It’s true that a picture is worth a thousand words, especially when it comes to the claims process. There will be a written report taken by the police officer who responds to the scene, but photographs are an easy way to capture the details of the accident scene. If an officer won’t come to the scene to take a report, you should take plenty of pictures and go to the station and make one as soon as possible. Insurance companies often rely on police reports, medical records, and other impersonal pieces of data to evaluate your claim. Photographs can illustrate the accident in a far more realistic and moving way. If it becomes necessary to go to court with your case, photographs can help you show the judge and jury exactly what the accident looked like. Accident photographs serve 3 purposes:
- These pictures tell the story of how event progressed during the accident.
- They serve as clear and graphic evidence of property damage and personal injuries.
- They serve as reminders of the scene to help you reconstruct the scene later.
Photographs can also be used to capture the surrounding area and weather conditions that may have contributed to the accident. You can easily capture the positions of vehicles, road signs, collision points, debris, and dozens of other accident details that can easily be overlooked. In addition to showing other parties the accident scene, these images can help jog your memory when it is time to file a report, discuss your case with your attorney, or argue your case in court. Human memories are not at their peak during times of stress. After an accident, you may realize that you are fuzzy on the details of your accident.
What Camera Is Best?
Most smartphones come with excellent quality cameras, so it is possible that your phone can be the only tool you need. If you do take photos, be sure to enable the time-stamp feature, which will automatically date your photos. If your phone doesn’t take pictures, you may need to enlist a friend or passenger to take pictures or get a disposable camera.
What Do I Photograph?
It can be hard to know where to start, especially when there is so much to photograph. It may not be immediately obvious what details are important, so it is a good idea to take as many pictures as you can of the scene. If you have limited storage, it is more important to choose your shots carefully. Here are some photographs you should try to take:
- Your car and the damage to it. Include interior shots, as well.
- The other cars involved, and the damage they sustained.
- Skid marks, including marks from bumping into a curb, if applicable.
- Glass, debris, or vehicle parts that have fallen onto the road.
- The accident site, such as a parking lot, intersection, or other location.
- The location and condition of any traffic lights, traffic signs, or road markings.
- Damage to any trees, signs, guardrails, buildings, or other stationary objects that have been struck in the accident.
- The environment and weather conditions, especially if there is water or snow on the road.
- Any visible injuries to you, your passengers, or others involved. Only take these with consent.
Tips For Better Accent Scene Photos
You don’t have to be a professional photographer to capture pictures that effectively illustrate the accident scene. Here are some tips to help you snap the best possible photos:
- Take a wide variety of photos, changing your angle and distance. Try to take pictures from at least 3 different angles and distances.
- Close-up photographs should be taken from 1 to 5 feet away. Medium distance photographs should be taken from 10 to 15 feet away. Wide-angle shots should be taken from 20 feet away.
- When taking pictures of the vehicles and surrounding areas, try to maintain a consistent landmark in the shot, such as a traffic sign, billboard, tree, or other objects. This can help establish scale and distance in your photographs.
- When photographing cars, try to include the license plate whenever possible. For close-up shots, this may not be possible, but there should be enough other images to cross-reference close up shots.
- Be aware of your lighting and weather conditions. These can make it difficult to take accurate pictures.
- If you are using flash, try taking the same shots without flash. This can help you adjust for differences in lighting that can distort images.
- If possible, take photos of the people involved. This includes the other driver, their passengers, and witnesses. You may need to gain consent for these images, but they can help you connect names and faces.
- Photograph the emergency responders. This can include a paramedic crew, ambulance, and police. This can show the severity of the accident and serve to verify any costs related to emergency response. However, do not get in the way of those working.
- Experiment with your camera’s settings. You may be able to produce much better images with a few adjustments.
Start Your Case Today! Contact Our Toledo Car Accident Attorneys – (419) 719-5195
If you’ve been injured in an auto accident, you don’t need to face the stress of filing a claim alone. Our experienced legal team at Williams DeClark Tuschman Co., L.P.A. is here to guide you and lay out your legal options in clear, easy to understand ways. Our Toledo auto accident lawyers are backed by more than 100 years of collective experience, and we are driven to win your case.