taking photos after a car accident

The Need to Take Photos After an Auto Accident

Laura Hunt AttorneyThe moments after a car accident can be confusing and stressful for most people.  It is a traumatic event which most people are not expecting and most have not experienced before.  As with any trauma, there are numerous concerns that immediately flood your mind. Of course, always foremost, is the well-being of all persons involved in the collision. Immediately following any accident, if you are physically able, you should always check on the health and condition of your passengers and passengers in the other vehicles.   Call for medical help immediately if emergency care is needed.

Everybody is OK. Now What?

Once you have confirmed that persons are stable or have called for emergency help for anyone who is not stable, it is critically important that you document the scene of the accident as quickly as possible. In a digital world people no longer expect to hear the testimony of witnesses to determine how the event happened.  It is almost expected that there will be photos and even video.  Although it seems at the scene of the accident that there can only be one explanation for how the impact occurred, many years of experience shows us that witnesses will have different accounts of the same event. For that reason, it is critically important that evidence from the scene be preserved so that at a later time, it can be easily determined who is at fault and how the collision occurred.

Therefore, taking photographs of the vehicles in their location in which they came to rest after the impact is crucial. In the age of the smart phone, it is a convenience we often take for granted and do not use to its most effective potential.   If the accident occurs at night, it is important to make sure you are using a flash when taking photos.  When taking photos, be sure to obtain photographs with license plates and identifying information on vehicles. If possible, it is often helpful to have photographs of the other driver or witnesses at the scene of the accident for later identification.  Take photographs from a wide angle so that you can see the entirety of the vehicles involved in the collision. Now that film is not an issue in the modern age, there cannot be too many photographs taken.

What else should I take pictures of?

In addition to photographs of where the vehicles came to rest,  take photographs of any debris left from the vehicles on the road way or on the side of the roadway before it is moved for safety reasons. In addition, take photographs of the roadway, any signs near the scene of the accident and if the accident occurred at an intersection take photographs of the entire configuration of the intersection.  Also photograph any witnesses and other drivers, just in case.

Often times, the scene will change from the time of the accident until the time a claim against the other driver is made. For example, additional roadway signs can be added or construction can be started or concluded.  Also, the condition of the roadway can change.   For example, there could be sand rock or debris on the road at a later time or at the time of the accident.  For that reason, it is critical to document the scene of the accident as it was on the date of the accident.

Pictures of vehicle damage.

In addition to documenting the accident scene, it is critical to document the damage to the vehicles. This evidence can be of significant importance to your personal injury attorney if there is a liability dispute.  It is also persuasive evidence to show the extent of damage to a vehicle as well as the persons occupying the vehicle. For those reasons, you will want to take photographs of all vehicles damaged in the accident at the scene.  Keep in mind this will likely be your only opportunity to take photographs of the other driver’s vehicle.  Thus, it is crucially important to capture this evidence at the scene.

Also in the digital age, it is always a good idea to back up any critical photos that you take of an accident. I would highly recommend that when you have the opportunity following the accident, that you download and archive the photos of the scene to a safe and secure location such as a zip drive. That way these photos will be available to you in the future should you need them in pursuing your claim.

Do police take photos of an accident scene?

Although the police do sometimes take photographs of an accident scene, they are often difficult to obtain and are sometimes lost. If you’re able to capture your own evidence it will be much easier to present your claim to the other driver’s insurance company. However, if you are severely injured and you are unable to capture this information the police may take photos in a serious accident.

In the event that the responding emergency agency takes the photos, they will archive those photos and they can be obtained at a later time. There is generally a cost involved in obtaining those photos and some delay.  With extensive experience in the handling of auto accident claims, I can obtain any evidence that was collected by a responding agency including police, fire and ambulance responders.

At the Law Offices of Laura Hunt we are here to help you and your family in the event that accidents or tragedies occur. For any of your legal needs, do not hesitate to contact our offices.  The Law Offices of Laura Hunt is a boutique, family owned law firm in Henderson that specializes in helping injured people and the community with legal issues involving auto accidents, wrongful deaths, slip and falls, truck accidents, injuries to children, bicycle accidents, dog bites, and all types of injury claims.  Please do not hesitate to call us anytime you have a legal question or you or a loved one has sustained an injury at 702-450-(HUNT) 4868.