Tips for Taking Car Accident Scene Photos
Most of us depend on vehicles in our everyday lives. It’s just how life has become. While this may be the most convenient option for some, there is a good chance that most of us will experience a car accident at some point. Our priority is to check the condition of everyone involved and call for medical services (if needed) and also the police.
While waiting for the police, taking scene photos can help make an insurance claim or build your legal case. Here are eight major tips on how to take the most efficient auto accident scene photos.
8 Major tips for taking the most efficient auto accident scene photos
Let’s make one thing clear, smartphones have become increasingly sophisticated, especially when it comes to their cameras. You don’t have to own the latest smartphone to take a good auto accident scene photo. Have peace of mind that any camera would do, as long as you follow these simple tips:
1. Take pictures of the entire accident scene and include all essential visual elements in one picture.
2. Ensure you have pictures taken at as many angles as possible.
3. Try to keep the license plates of the vehicles visible when taking photos of them.
4. Dont forget the vehicle’s interior is just as important as the exterior. These photos give information about deployed airbags, shattered glass, blood stains, or other debris.
5. Take photos of the surrounding areas that portray street signs, weather conditions, stop signs, traffic signals, and road conditions. There may be damage to surrounding properties, skid marks, damage, trees, signs, etc.
6. Always place a reference item for size comparison when photographing smaller items. Popular choices that most individuals should have on hand, for example, are coins or pens.
7. Including a landmark can help demonstrate the auto accident’s distance, location, and scale.
8. If there are any injuries, photographing the victims is extremely important, and this includes close-up shots of those injuries.
What to Do If You Cannot Take Pictures Because of an Injury
In the case where injuries restrict you from taking pictures, try to contact a friend or family member. You can also ask the other party (if there is someone else involved) to contact someone you know, but do not let the other party take pictures instead of you. These can be later used to prove you are at fault. This is why contacting someone you know is the best option.
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Frequently Asked Questions
Your first and foremost action following an accident is to stay calm, check if you or anyone else involved has been injured, and call the police. Get the name and contact information of all parties involved in the accident as well as any witnesses of the event. To document the damage, take pictures of the accident scene, the vehicles, and your injuries. It’s important not to admit liability until you hire an attorney because they will conduct a thorough investigation to establish the driver at fault.
Right after a car accident, you may feel fine, but injuries can surface days, weeks, and even months later. That’s why it’s good to see a doctor even if you don’t believe you were injured in the accident. Your doctor can recognize issues or injuries that won’t immediately become apparent to you and alert you to warning signs of injuries that may arise due to the accident. If you fail to treat your injuries within a certain period of time, you may forfeit your right to get reimbursement for future medical costs. The general rule is not to settle auto accident claims without having been examined by a medical professional.
In most cases, you won’t have to go to court. The majority of auto accident claims are resolved outside of court after negotiating the terms with the insurer. Most insurance companies generally try to settle claims as quickly as possible and for as little money as possible, so it’s wise to have an attorney negotiate on your behalf.
In addition to taking pictures of the accident scene and taking the contact information of the involved parties and witnesses, your detailed explanation of how the accident happened is also necessary to file a claim. Law enforcement reports of the accident will also serve as crucial evidence in your claim.
Many factors determine the driver at fault in an auto accident case. Do not accept any part of the blame until the investigation has concluded. Even if the investigation finds that you are partially at fault, you may still be entitled to receive compensation.
There are cases when the victim also shares part of the blame for an accident. If, for example, you were driving five to ten mph over the speed limit when the accident happened, this would have limited your reaction time, and you could likely be considered a negligent driver even if you weren’t the one to cause the crash. Different states have different ways of settling auto accident claims where more than one driver is at fault. So it’s best to check the specific laws in your state (or the state where the accident took place) or discuss the matter with your auto accident injury lawyer.
It happens surprisingly often that people get into an auto accident where the driver at fault doesn’t have insurance. In these situations, it’s wise to have an auto insurance policy that comes with Uninsured Motorist (UM) coverage. That way, if you get into an accident and the at-fault driver doesn’t have insurance, you will still be able to file your claim under the UM coverage you have with your own insurance company. Your insurer will then process the claim following the same process as it would for an opposing insurer. The only difference is that the claim will be against your UM coverage and not against another driver.
Likewise, if you were involved in a hit-and-run accident where the responsible driver fled the scene before you could take their information, you can again seek compensation from your UM coverage.
Suppose you suffered injuries after an auto accident that was caused by another driver’s negligence. In that case, there are two main types of damages that you may seek compensation for: compensatory (a.k.a. monetary) and punitive damages.
Compensatory damages are the most common type of damages in a personal injury claim, and they often include:
● Current and future medical bills
● Property damage
● Emotional duress
● Lost wages
● Loss of enjoyment of life
● Loss of future earnings potential
On the other hand, punitive damages are much rarer, but they can occur in situations where the vehicle manufacturer is to blame.