A picture can be worth a thousand words when you’re trying to navigate the aftermath of a car accident. Unfortunately, most at-fault drivers try to dodge responsibility – and liability – after a collision to protect their insurance premiums. Likewise, the defendant’s insurance company is going to fight tooth and nail to limit your damages and undermine your claim, even if it means manipulating the narrative of the evidence.
Surviving a traffic collision can be a terrifying and stressful experience. Even so, there are 15 steps you must take if you plan to file a claim and pursue compensation:
- Move your vehicle out of traffic, if possible.
- Make sure all drivers, passengers, and third-parties are safe.
- Call 911.
- Exchange insurance information with the other driver(s).
- Do not apologize or admit/imply fault to the other driver.
- Use your smartphone to take pictures of the accident scene.
- Write down witness information (names, phone numbers, testimonies, etc.)
- Help the police complete the accident report.
- Seek medical attention as soon as possible.
- Report the accident to your insurer.
- Request updated copies of the police report and your medical record.
- Do not discuss the accident with representatives from the defendant’s insurance company.
- Keep a record of any injury-related expenses.
- Don’t post pictures or details about the accident on social media.
- Contact a reputable attorney as soon as possible.
Although these are all critical tips, most accident survivors tend to underestimate the general importance and purpose of photographic evidence. For example, the photographs you take after an accident can be pieced together to tell a story that untangles any conflicting accounts or reports. Your lawyer and insurer can review the photographs to understand the narrative of the crash, determine the cause of the collision, and establish a liability party.
Photographs encompass the following details and more:
- The location of the accident
- The road and weather conditions
- The position of the vehicles
- The collision points
- The extent of the damage
But these pictures aren’t just useful for recreating the events that led up to the crash. They can also prove that your injuries are a result of the collision and thereby warrant compensatory damages. For these reasons and more, it’s important to take as many pictures as possible before the accident scene is cleared.
If you can, take pictures of:
- The accident scene
- Vehicles involved in the collision
- Vehicular damage
- Property damage
- License plates
- Your injuries
- Passenger injuries
- Traffic flow
- Skid marks
- Surrounding businesses (who may have security cameras)
- Debris (vehicle parts, shattered glass, etc.)
- Nearby stop signs and traffic signals
- Weather and environmental conditions
It’s best to take a wide variety of photos from different angles and distances. When it comes to documenting a car accident, the skies the limit! It can help to keep a common landmark in your photos to establish distance and scale. Depending on the weather, you may also want to use different flash intensities.
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If your injuries prevent you from taking photographs, contact the car accident attorneys at Pratt Clay, LLC. We can help you compile essential evidence – including photographs – that proves the at-fault party is responsible for your injuries and financial losses.