What Photos Should I Take After an Accident?

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February 20, 2021
Edward Smith

Photos at the Accident Scene

California’s busy highways see a large number of automobile accidents every day.  While it is not pleasant to think that you may one day be involved in one of those collisions, it doesn’t hurt to think in advance and be armed with knowledge about what to do if an unfortunate accident happens to you.  Many times following a car accident, one or more parties will make an insurance claim for damages and/or injuries.  One of the most helpful things you can do for any future legal claim is to take a thorough set of photos at the accident scene. 

Taking the right photos at the accident scene can result in you having solid visual evidence to support your version of events as well as to illustrate the extent of your damages. Below are a few pieces of advice for completely documenting the scene following a car crash.

The More, the Better

There really cannot be too many pictures of the post-accident scene. They are especially helpful because they may help you remember details that could be forgotten, especially given the stressful state of the scene after the collision.  Use your mobile phone and begin taking pictures as soon after the impact as is safely possible.  If you have sustained injuries that preclude you from doing so, ask your passenger, a bystander, or witness to use your phone to snap photos.  

Change Your Angles

Photos from different angles and various vantage points are helpful.  Take close-ups of the damage to the vehicle(s) and any visible physical injuries.  From further away, capture as many details of the scene as you can, including road signs, traffic control devices, anything that affected visibility, etc.  Many phone cameras have the ability to take panoramic views while spanning from left to right, which can include even more of the scene.  

Important Things to Capture

While snapping as many photos as possible, be sure to include a few key subjects:

  • Exterior vehicle damage. Take photos of the damage to your vehicle and all other involved vehicles. 
  • Your injuries. If you have any visible injuries, take photos of them. Over the course of the next few days or weeks after the accident, document the healing process with more pictures.
  • The interior of your vehicle. You may not have access to the interior of any other vehicles, but take pictures of your own, especially if there is evidence of the impact – deployed airbags, objects that were airborne and came to rest in various parts of the vehicle, broken seats, or other damaged equipment.
  • Identifying details.  Rather than writing down information, take photos of the other vehicles’ license plates, and the driver’s license and insurance information from the other driver(s).
  • Scene details.  As mentioned above, take photos of all details that may have had some causation or played a role in the accident – any stop signs or traffic lights, road hazards or obstructions, street signs, intersections, any trees or other objects that affected visibility.

Watch the YouTube video.  Below is a clip with advice on taking good pictures with your mobile phone.

Consider a Dashcam

Dashcams are now quite affordable, and they can eliminate any liability wars in a “he said-she said” accident.  Many record audio as well as video.  If the other party has a dashcam and you do not, it may not be possible for you to obtain the footage from their camera.  By having your own dashcam, you are protecting yourself against negligent and dishonest drivers. 

Sacramento Injury Lawyers 

Thanks for visiting our legal blog.  I’m Ed Smith, a Sacramento, California personal injury lawyer.  It’s not easy knowing what to do following a serious car accident.  Talking with an experienced injury lawyer can help alleviate some of your worries.  Call us for free and friendly advice at (916) 921-6400 or (800) 404-5400.  Alternatively, reach out to us via our online form.

Photo Attribution:  MMB

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