How to Take Photographs at an Accident Scene
It is often said that a picture is worth a thousand words, and this is never more true than at the scene of an accident — especially in the event that you may need such photographs to prove your case in a court of law, or to file a personal injury civil lawsuit against the other driver for their negligence, which caused the accident in the first place.
Being able to take photographs can make the difference of whether or not you recover thousands more dollars in your case, as they may very likely visually prove to the court and the insurance companies the events that transpired, the damage that was done, and can even show who was at fault.
Phoenix accident attorneys can also use the photographs you take when they negotiate with the insurance companies involved. Of course, you should be primarily concerned with not exacerbating your injuries and taking care of your health — this may mean if you have more serious injuries from the accident, you might not be able to take photographs at the scene of the accident. If you are unable to take the photographs at the scene of the accident, it might be a good idea to ask a witness, another passenger, or friend who is not injured to take them for you with either their smartphone or camera before the accident is cleared from the surface street, highway, sidewalk, driveway, or parking lot.
Step 1: Photograph the Accident Scene
You should start by getting pictures of the overall scene first. You can do this by taking wide-angle lens shots to get a picture of the entire scene. With these types of photos, do not worry about focusing in on the small details. If the accident happened in the middle of an intersection, you should take about 20 or 30 steps back away from it so you can get a shot of the whole intersection as well as any other involved vehicles.
Pro tip: To give these wide-angle lens type of accident scene photographs a sense of scale, and so that the viewer can understand the size(s) of all involved vehicles and/or other objects that may have been involved in the accident, if possible, have someone stand in the photograph. In this way, the person or people viewing the photograph will be able to get a better idea of how large or small your car is in comparison to the other car or cars involved. If you cannot get a person to stand in the photos you are taking, try to include other objects for scale — and make sure that these are undamaged so that the viewer does not get a skewed sense of the scene of the accident.
Step 2: Document All of the Damage
The next step is for you to take pictures documenting all of the damage that happened in the accident, which may include more than just the damage to your vehicle. If a car hit a sign or light post, document that damage with a photograph as well. The importance of taking such additional damage pictures is that it helps to show how the accident happened as well as the consequences of it.
Pro tip: When photographing the damage that was done to the vehicles involved in the accident, it is imperative that you pay attention not just to the exteriors of the vehicles, but to their interiors as well. You want to look for all kinds of damage that could have taken place as a result of the accident, and on the inside of the vehicle, this will mean things like deployed air bags, broken glass from the windows, windshield, or rear window(s), loose car parts (this could be on the car’s interior or exterior), and most especially, any blood stains, especially in the interior of your own car, and most especially if someone was seriously injured as a result of the accident.
Step 3: Take Pictures of Traffic Signs and Lights
Next, take photographs of all relevant traffic signs and lights where the accident happened, including their context so that the viewer of the photographs can understand what is happening in each individual picture. For example, if the other driver ran a red light or a stop sign, photograph the stop sign or traffic signal they ran to show how it relates to the intersection, and be sure to make note of these important facts. Other important traffic signs you might want to photograph, depending on what happened, include the speed limit sign for the street, yield signs, or any others that are relevant to what happened and/or relate to the reasons why the accident may have occurred.
Pro tip: Along with photographing any street signs on the scene, you will also want to ensure that you take photos of any skid marks left behind by either car, as these can show a couple of different things depending upon who was at fault. For example, in some instances, skid marks can show that you made every effort to avoid the accident by braking, while in other scenarios, skid marks can be proof that the other driver was simply too close and going too fast for their braking to have in any way significantly helped to stop the accident. People who are trained in accident reconstruction can look at the length and width of skid marks left behind on the road to determine how fast a vehicle was traveling and when the driver applied the brakes, and this could be the difference between your innocence or sharing fault for the accident.
Step 4: Photograph All Associated Details
Finally, look around to spot any other detail that might be related to your accident. If the weather conditions were poor and affected the road, photograph rain puddles, ice patches, or other weather conditions that may have been a contributing factor to the accident’s cause. If there are skid marks on the road, take pictures of them.
Pro tip: When photographing the smaller details of the accident you were involved in, or for a friend or a heavily wounded driver, you will want to make sure you include something that shows the scale of what you are focusing on in each individual photo. Items such as loose change (as these are a great way to show scale), car keys, or even your own hand if nothing else is available, can be a great way to show the size of smaller details on either the interior or exterior of the vehicles involved in an accident.
After Taking Your Photos, Be Sure They Land in the Right Hands
After you have taken your photographs and received treatment for your injuries, make certain to give them to your accident attorneys in Phoenix so they can use them in preparation for your case. Any car accident that is serious enough to take photos of even when you know you have been injured is a serious one, and should not be taken lightly.
You could have a concussion as a result of a car accident you were involved in, or you may have sustained other serious injuries that you may not be aware of until a day or more following the accident. If you have good reason to believe that the other driver was at fault for the accident, it’s important that you understand that this party is also responsible for the injuries you sustained.
For this reason, it’s crucial that you contact an accident injury lawyer in Arizona who can assist you with receiving the compensation you deserve after going through such an event that may have left you wrongfully injured. The medical expenses you may have to pay as the result of being in a car accident that was in no way your fault can be incredibly high, and can financially wipe you out or even leave you bankrupt.
If you believe you have been wrongfully injured in a Phoenix auto accident, contact the Hutzler Law Firm or visit our website at www.hutzlerlaw.com. We will begin with your complimentary and completely free legal consultation and the process of building your winning case as soon as we hear from you.