When vehicles collide, cameras come out of hiding. It is essential to document the location of the accident, the position of vehicles, the damage to your vehicle and other property, and the injuries you sustained from the accident. Not all injuries will be visible from the outside of your body, but it is important to take pictures of the ones that are visible.
If you have a video recorder, then you can take your documentation to the next level and video the accident scene before vehicles are moved or towed away. If you use the video feature on your digital camera, make sure to take your pictures first. You do not want to use up all of your storage space on video and then sacrifice the pictures. The pictures are essential.
Digital cameras are your best resource because they have adjustable settings for lighting and distance. Take a variety of pictures from different areas of the accident scene so you thoroughly cover the entire scene. It is always better to have too much documentation than to not have enough. The pictures you snap right after the accident occurs will be the most valuable to your defense later on. For instance, pictures may be the only way to prove that the accident was not your fault.
If you do not have a digital camera on hand, try to take pictures with your cell phone. You may want to call someone to bring a camera to the scene of the accident if you do not have one or you are unable to take pictures due to injuries. Even a disposable camera purchased at the gas station is better than nothing. This documentation could make a big difference when it comes time to fighting for damages, lost wages, medical bill coverage, and other expenses.
If you are unable to take pictures at the scene of the accident due to injuries sustained, do not risk your health to get the pictures. You do not want to move your body if it could mean risking your life or worsening your injuries. Your first job is to make sure you survive the accident and make recovery as easy and fast as possible. Pictures are important, but your life is even more important.
Future Image Documentation
If you sustain injuries that require ongoing treatment, you should continue documenting your injuries through pictures and video footage. For example, you would take pictures of your leg before and after surgery if you sustain an injury that requires surgical correction. Even scrapes and burns can be photographed over time to show their progress to healing and any scars that may permanently remain on your body.
If you are going through physical therapy for a back injury, you could have someone videotape your struggle to move around or perform ordinary tasks over time. You may even video some of the therapy sessions. This documents your recovery process and proves you did in fact sustain a serious injury, even if it cannot be seen from the outside. You will also want photograph and/or video documentation of casts, bandages, crutches, wheelchairs, and other equipment used to treat your injuries that you can provide to your personal injury attorney.
If your camera has a setting to display the date and time the images were taken on the developed pictures, use that setting for every picture. Once you have printed copies of the pictures, document the time and date the picture was taken and who took the picture on the back of each image.
Make sure all images and videotapes are sent to your lawyer as soon as possible, but keep copies of everything for your own records.