Today I’ll discuss how taking photographs can both help and hurt your personal injury claim after a car crash, whether it was in Burlington or any of the surrounding towns.
Now when I say photographs, I mean video as well; nearly everybody these days has a cell phone which is also a high-quality video recording device within easy reach after a car accident.
Use it correctly, and you’ll have some great evidence to make sure that you get paid fairly at the end of the day.
Value of photos in a car accident claim
It’s often said that a picture is worth a thousand words and that’s true when it comes to an injury case as well.
Images of the aftermath of a terrible accident can not only accurately show what happened but also have an emotional appeal. There was a time when taking pictures after a car crash was looked down upon. Others may think you were trying to make things look worse than they were.
These days, cameras are everywhere, and it would be unusual not to capture images after you’ve been in a car accident.
Even if you’ve driven your car home already or it’s been towed from the scene of the crash, you can still take effective pictures, which will be admissible into evidence in a court of law.
Tips for photographing your car accident
First, if you’re still at the scene of the crash, safety first, please, make sure everybody’s okay. Don’t further endanger yourself or anyone else so that you can take some pictures. However, if it is safe to do so, consider taking photographs at the scene or the tow yard. Ideally, if you have a passenger who was not injured in the crash, they should be the photographer.
Take lots of photos at the scene, or the tow yard
Any pictures or video taken at the scene of the accident should include:
- The relative position of the vehicles involved,
- The road surface
- Weather conditions if they’re going to be important
- Include any other details that might be lost once the scene is cleared
Be sure that when you take your pictures, you do it in a way that gives them scale to what we’re seeing. Many people take pictures that are way too close to the object for the viewer to understand what he or she is looking at.
Try to get multiple photos from different angles if you can.
Take pictures of any damage done to the vehicle, both inside and outside, and if the airbags are deployed, get a picture of that as well.
Tip about videos after a car crash
If you’re taking a video, make sure the clip is at least four seconds long and use your words to explain to the viewer what he or she is looking at.
Remember that not all pictures are going to be helpful to your case. Here are a few things that you need to be careful about.
For example minor damage to the car.
If your car suffered only a few dings or scratches, please don’t take any pictures of the car. The defense is entitled to see all of the pictures that you take and the insurance company will love these. They like nothing better than to argue to a jury that minimal damage to the car means minimal damage to the people inside it.
Be mindful of what else is in the photos
Be cautious about what’s in the video or pictures that you’re taking. Many people take a flurry of photographs after a crash without much thought as to what’s actually in the pictures themselves.
It’s an unfortunate reality that people will judge the entire picture not just what you’re trying to show them, a cell phone propped up on the dashboard or empty cans rolling around in the car can give the wrong impression.
Now I’m not suggesting that you move things around to give a false sense of what happened!
I’m only mentioning that you should, whenever possible, see things through the eyes of insurance companies and defense lawyers who want to avoid paying you fairly for your claim.
Summary: Tips on photographing your car crash
Photos and videos taken of your car accident, at or near the time of the crash, can be incredibly valuable to your case if done properly and with a bit of care. On the other hand, photos that show little or no property damage or which allow the defense to depict you in a negative light can sink your case.