Right after you are in a car accident, your heart may be pounding, and you may be nervous, scared or in shock. Some people describe feeling numb, disoriented, confused, or disconnected. The first thing you should do is check the condition of yourself and your passengers. If it’s just you, check to make sure you can move, you’re not trapped, and you are able to call 911 for help. If you have passengers, check to see if they are all conscious, alert, and able to respond to you.
Once you’ve checked everyone and made sure that the accident has been reported to the police, use the time while waiting for the police to arrive to take photos of the accident and your injuries. Here are a few tips for taking photos after a car accident.
Why Taking Photos is So Important
To understand the importance of taking photos after an auto accident, consider these questions:
● What if the police officer incorrectly documents the scene?
● What if the other driver gives a conflicting account of what occurred?
● What if the insurance company tries to say the accident ‘wasn’t that bad?’
● What if the insurance company says my injuries weren’t caused by the crash?
Photos really are worth 1,000 words. A Texas personal injury attorney can use your photos to build a compelling case and help you pursue compensation for your injuries. It’s difficult for a defense attorney or insurance adjuster to dismiss photographic evidence. The problem is that most people either do not take photos or do not know how to photograph the scene properly.
What to Do at the Scene of the Accident
Make sure that police and first responders are on their way. Then, if it is safe to do so, and you are physically able, take photographs of everything you can.
● Time and Location Stamp Your Photos
Make sure your phone or camera has a way to document the time. Most new smartphones have a way to do this. You also can download timestamping apps. Make sure your location services setting is turned on. This shows exactly where the photo was taken. For an iPhone, Apple offers a tutorial. Android users should check with their phone’s manufacturer to learn how to do this.
You can text the photos to yourself or a loved one. This creates a permanent record of the time when the photos were taken. You may also want to note the weather and road conditions as well.
● Photograph the scene of the crash
Start with wide angle shots of the entire scene. Get all vehicles in the picture. Make sure that the image captures any traffic signals or stop signs that may be relevant. Photograph skid marks on the pavement and any debris. The goal should be to give a clear picture of where the accident happened.
● Photograph people
If you feel comfortable doing so, snap a picture or two of the others involved. This can help verify who was present and who was not.
● Photograph injuries
If you or your passengers sustained visible injuries, such as bruising, cuts, and scrapes, take a photo. This will help to prove that the injuries were sustained in the wreck, and it will show the extent of the injury before it has been cleaned and treated at a hospital. Take photos the following day to show swelling from injuries.
● Photograph damage
Take pictures of the damage to the vehicles. Get wide angle and close-up shots of the damage so that someone viewing the photos would be able to make sense of them. Super close, out of focus, blurry images do not help.
● Photograph Plate and VIN Numbers
Try to photograph all license plate numbers and VINs (vehicle identification numbers). There have been plenty of cases where police officers wrote down the wrong VIN on a crash report. These honest mistakes can lead to months of fighting with insurance adjusters over whether a damaged vehicle is covered by insurance.
Tips for Taking Good Photos
When taking photos of a car accident scene, make sure you are using your flash settings correctly. If it’s nighttime, you will probably need to use your flash setting, but if there are overhead street lights, you may not need the flash. The great thing about modern camera phones is you can check each photo instantly.
Do not hesitate to take dozens of photos from different angles. Remember to make sure you get wide-angle shots of everything, as well as close-ups showing the details of the damage or injury.
If you need to hire an attorney to pursue compensation for your injuries and property damages, your attorney would prefer to have too many photos rather than too few.
Hiring an Austin, TX Personal Injury Lawyer
When you are in a car crash, it can be a confusing and overwhelming. That is why it is so important to stay focused and keep a clear head. Plan ahead, and know what you are going to do if you are involved in a traffic accident.
Remember, take a minute to assess your injuries and your passengers.
Second, call for help.
Third, start documenting everything. Photograph the scene, then the vehicle damages, then the injuries. Get plate and VIN numbers if you can. Make a note of the weather, road conditions, and traffic signals.
Texas has strict time limits on filing a personal injury claim to recover compensation for your injuries. If you have been injured, you cannot afford to wait. Contact the experienced car accident lawyers of Byrd Davis Alden & Henrichson, LLP, or visit us online to set up your confidential, free consultation today.