Importance Of Photos At The Accident Scene
Acting quickly and thoughtfully after being involved in a car crash can feel impossible. Not only may you be coping with serious injuries – which may, in the most severe of cases, confine you to a hospital bed – but you may also be suffering from shock. The trauma of an accident alone can leave you shaken for days, weeks, or longer, and can add to the confusion of the claims process.
That being said, it is important that you do a few things as soon as possible after a crash, like filing a police report and seeking medical care. In addition, you should prioritize taking photos or having someone take photos of the crash scene for you.
The Claims Process: A Basic Overview
Before you can really understand the value of photos after a car accident, it’s important that you understand how the claims process and fault laws work in Alabama.
Alabama is an at-fault car insurance state. This means that when an accident occurs, the party who caused the accident is responsible for paying damages to others who were harmed. Because of the state’s strict contributory negligence rules, drivers who share any degree of fault for the crash are barred from recovery.
In order to successfully seek compensation from the at-fault party, an injured victim will need to prove that their injuries would not have occurred but for the fault of the defendant, and that they suffered losses as a result.
The Value of Photos After an Accident
As the adage goes, a photo is worth a thousand words. When it comes to establishing the elements of a car accident claim, the right photos can be very valuable.
While an insurance adjuster may try to cast doubt on your story as it pertains to the accident, they’ll have a hard time disputing any photo evidence that you can present. When you have pictures that provide clues as to how the accident occurred and who should be held liable, as well as pictures that prove the extent of damages you’ve suffered, you’ll likely have an easier time proving your claim and recovering the compensation that you deserve.
What Do I Need to Take Photos of After an Accident?
It’s important to take photos of anything that could be potentially valuable during the claims process. At the very least, our law firm recommends taking photos of:
- Damage to vehicles. If you are filing a claim for property damage, having proof of how severely your vehicle was damaged is important. What’s more, damage to vehicles can offer insight as to how an accident occurred. Make sure to take photos of both the interior and the exterior of all vehicles involved, if possible.
- Vehicle positioning. If it is safe to do so, do not move your vehicle immediately after a crash. Instead, snap a few photos first. Vehicle positioning is one of the best ways to be able to determine how an accident occurred, especially when analyzed by a vehicle reconstruction expert.
- Signage and traffic signals. Taking photos of signage and traffic signals in the area surrounding the crash can offer insight as to whether any traffic laws were broken. For example, is there evidence showing that a vehicle should have yielded, as a stop sign just a few feet away?
- Skid marks. Skid marks show that a vehicle braked unexpectedly, and, likely, without warning. This can be indicative of an attempt to avoid an accident. Long skid marks may indicate that a vehicle was traveling faster than the speed limit.
- Weather and road conditions. Sometimes, poor weather or poor road conditions can contribute to an accident. While drivers are not excused from liability when an accident occurs in poor weather, any clues about what caused the accident can contribute to an accident investigation.
- Injuries. If you suffered any injuries in the car accident, you should thoroughly document these injuries, which includes taking photos of the injuries. It’s important to take photos throughout the recovery process, too. This is because you will need to present evidence of your injuries to the insurance adjuster, as well as how the injuries have affected your life. Photos are one of the best ways to highlight severity of injury, as well as pain and degree of disability, too.
Tips for Taking Photos
As you take photos of the accident, here are some tips to keep in mind:
- Take as many photos as possible. Don’t limit yourself to photos of just the vehicles or just your injuries. Even if a photo doesn’t seem necessary at first, it may prove useful at a later date. With cell phone cameras and digital cameras, there really is no reason to be stingy with the number of pictures you take.
- Take photos from different angles. The more photos you have, the more complete of a story those photos will tell.
- Make sure photos contain a time and date stamp. While this isn’t as important, it can be useful to have documentation of exactly when the accident happened and proof that you are taking photos related to that accident. Digital photos usually come with a time and date stamp.
Other Accident Documentation Tips
In addition to taking as many photos as possible after an accident, don’t overlook the value of documenting your accident and injuries in other ways, too, including:
- Writing down the names and contact information for all eyewitnesses
- Getting the other driver’s name, contact information, driver’s license information, and insurance information
- Filing a police report, requesting a copy of the report, and documenting the responding officer’s name and badge number
- Keeping an accident journal detailing how the crash occurred, your injuries, and your recovery
- Keeping a thorough record of all medical bills and other documentation of expenses related to the crash
How Our Lawyer at the Bence Law Firm LLC Can Help You
Your injuries may preclude you from being able to take photos of an accident scene, damages, and your injuries. Fortunately, if you are unable to document your accident on your own, our lawyer from the Bence Law Firm LLC can help you.
Attorney David Bence is a skilled car accident attorney who knows how to gather evidence to prove your claim and pursue the compensation award you deserve. When you call the Bence Law Firm LLC, we can start working on your claim immediately.
Request your free consultation with the Bence Law Firm LLC today by sending us a message or calling our Phenix City office directly.