If you’ve been in a car accident, your phone is a helpful tool for documenting the incident and can help you should you decide to pursue a lawsuit.
Before you get out your phone and follow our tips for digital documentation, remember that no matter what, first and foremost, if you are injured seek medical attention. Regardless of the course of litigation, your health and well-being is always the first priority.
However, if you are able, or even if a family member or friend comes to the scene, there are a couple of actions you can take to get helpful information about the accident at the most important time.
Don’t Forget Videos
When you see courtroom dramas on television, attorneys have blow-ups of charts, graphs and photos for the judge and jury to view. In real life, video is a powerful tool, and is often used in the courtroom if video is available. While at the scene of an accident, it is impossible to know what information is going to be important. Therefore, capturing video of the scene is a good idea. You may capture something valuable that you wouldn’t even anticipate.
Where to Point Your Lens
In this era of technology, accident victims are getting better and better at taking pictures of damage to their vehicles. Frequently, insurance companies request that you send them photos of car damage.
Shoot the Scene
Take a couple of steps back and photograph the scene in its entirety. Also, shoot the intersection or road. Include traffic lights and landmarks in the shot.
The Other Car(s)
The damage to the other vehicle can also be evidence, particularly the part of their car that struck yours. While you’re taking pictures, shoot their license plate numbers and get photos of their tires.
Get wide photos with any bystanders that have gathered at the scene. You never know who could be a witness. Attorneys can use photos to identify witnesses who don’t voluntarily step forward, so do your best to get sharp photos of their faces. This may feel uncomfortable to you, but witnesses can help you make your case, and in the long run, a little discomfort is well worth a positive outcome for your case.
Shoot photos of the street. Any skidmarks? Debris from the wreck? Condition of the road? These may be key factors in your case. Circle the perimeter of the accident scene and shoot the ground from several angles.
Weather can impact driving conditions. Get photos of the sky. Is it raining or clear? Bright or dark? Actual photos that reveal the weather conditions around the time of your accident can be very helpful in trial.
Secure Your Photos
When you get home, hop on your Gmail or Hotmail account and email everything to yourself. This decreases the likelihood of losing the media. It also provides an accurate time and date stamp to indicate when the picture was taken. If you have a cloud storage account (free with Google and iPhoto), save another set of your photos there.
Why This Matters
Using many tools, including accident reconstruction experts, the accident report, biomechanical engineers and even medical doctors, we are able to show what happened in an accident with a great degree of accuracy. Nothing can replace a video, or photo, or any other actual evidence from the scene. It adds a level of objectivity and realism that can help make or break your case.