Documenting the Scene: A Guide to Taking Effective Accident Photos

You drive every day and you have known the rules of the road since you got your driver’s license. You rarely speed and you always keep up with your insurance payments. Although you may be a good driver, you may not be prepared for any situation. For instance, do you know how to take really good accident photos if you are in a crash?

Any car accident lawyer can tell you that photographs are very important to any car accident claim. The photographs you take should give an insurance adjuster, a jury, or a judge a clear idea of what happened during the accident and who is responsible for the collision. There are a few things that you should keep in mind when you are taking a photograph of an accident.

Take the Photos as Soon as You Can

The first thing you should do after you have had an accident is get out of the car and find out if anyone is injured. If you are on the highway, you should pull over to the side of the road if you can.  If there are injuries or significant damage to either car, you should call the police. The next thing you should do is take pictures if you are physically able to do so.

Getting pictures immediately after an accident will give you a better idea of the road conditions and the weather that may have contributed to the crash.

Accident photos

Take Pictures From Many Different Angles

There are often discrepancies over who caused an accident. Both the police and the insurance adjuster will look at the position of the two cars and try to determine who was at fault. Because neither the insurance adjuster nor the police saw the accident, they must rely on photographs. Security cameras from nearby businesses may capture the collision, but they are stationary and unlikely to give a very good idea of what happened.

If you take a picture from every angle that you can, an adjuster will be able to get a better idea of what happened.

Take tight shots of scratches and dents that are on the car. The size of a dent may help determine the speed at which a person is traveling. Take pictures of broken windows and the ground on all sides of the accident. Fault can also be determined by where debris lands.

Skid Marks Can Be Very Important

Take photographs of the ground and of the skid marks on it. An expert can determine how fast a car traveled by looking and the skid marks. There may be obstructions on the ground that caused the accident as well.

Take Pictures of The Inside of The Other Driver’s Car

Talking and texting are a major cause of accidents in the U.S. It is illegal in almost all states. If you can prove that the other driver in an accident was driving and texting, they are more likely to be considered negligent in a crash.

Look in the other driver’s car and see if there is a cell phone on the passenger seat or in the cup holder. If there is, take a picture of it. It may be used as evidence that they were on the phone at the time of the accident.

You should take pictures both with a flash and without a flash so you can make sure you have the very best evidence to present in court. Take many pictures from the same angle. A blurry photograph may be the difference of whether your claim is approved or denied.

Photograph Witness Information

The moments after an accident are hectic. You are trying to deal with the trauma of what just happened, while at the same time taking pictures, talking to the police, and getting witness information. If a witness writes down their number, you may not be able to read it. If they give you their business card, you may lose it.

Take pictures of business cards and put witness numbers in your phone. Take pictures of the businesses on the street so you can call them later to see if any employees saw what happened.

There is nothing juries and judges take more seriously than photographic evidence. The more proof you have, the more likely you are to get money for your injuries.


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