Tips for Taking Car Accident Photographs

By Peter DePaolis

If you were in a car accident, you will want to document as much as reasonably possible, like calling the police to come to the scene, getting the names of other drivers and eyewitnesses, and taking photographs. The cameras on today’s cell phones are of such a high quality that it is perfectly acceptable to use them in your car accident injury claim or in court.

Is It a Good Idea to Take Photos After a Crash?

In short, taking photos after a car accident to document what happened is generally a good idea and can help your car accident lawyer create a compelling case on your behalf.

Because these pictures could make or break your case, you will want to make sure they provide the information that your lawyer will need. A Virginia personal injury attorney could help you navigate the claim process or file a lawsuit on your behalf. Here are a few tips for taking car accident photos that you could use for your claim or lawsuit:

#1) Do Not Use Filters on Your Pictures

There are countless filters available on social media apps and elsewhere that allow you to have a little fun with photographs you take on your cell phone. You do not want to use any filters on the pictures you take of your car accident. You will have to certify that the photographs are unaltered and that they are an accurate representation of whatever they portray.

#2) Do Not Take Selfies or Post to Social Media

After a car accident, it may be tempting to take a selfie or post on social media. However, this can undermine any claim you make for damages later. Even silly, filtered selfies can suggest you’re not truly injured after an accident – even if you did suffer an injury and may be able to pursue compensation. For your own protection, refrain from posting anything related to the accident online. Only take photos at the scene to properly document evidence that could support your case, like vehicle damage.

#3) Remember: Time Counts

It is essential that you snap pictures immediately at the scene. If you are physically unable to take your own photographs of the vehicles and other items, you might want to ask someone else to take photos for you. Just make sure that you have the photographs sent to your phone or taken on your phone directly.

One quick note, never get into a situation in which you risk your safety to get a photograph. You do not want to step into the street or get into a physical altercation with someone.

#4) Capture Multiple Angles

Sometimes, a picture simply does not capture everything you thought it would. For this reason, you will want to photograph things from different angles and distances. Close-ups can provide valuable detail, while you can also gain perspective if you can stop a little distance away from the object you’re photographing. Try to photograph every car, damaged or not, from all sides. Be sure to document with photos whether a window was broken, tires blew out, airbags deployed, and other information.

#5) Take Photos With And Without a Flash

You do not get to choose what time of day a crash happens. Take some photos with a flash and some photos without. The lighting might make some of the photos unusable, so it is good to have both types.

#6) Consider the Environment and Weather

After a collision, stories can vary as to what caused the accident. It will be helpful to take photos of things like skid marks, traffic signs, debris in the road, snow or ice on the street, and anything else that might be relevant to causation.

#7) Capture Documents (Insurance, Licences, Etc.)

People usually do not think to take photos of the other driver’s license, registration, and insurance card, but doing so can be a smart idea. In the aftermath of a car accident, a person might unintentionally misspell a person’s name or write some numbers incorrectly. Also, snapping a photo is much quicker than trying to write down all the information. 

#8) Photograph Your Visible Injuries

You might wish to have someone assist you in taking photos of your injuries at different stages of the healing process. Bruises can take some time to develop, and then they can fade relatively quickly.

Again, resist the temptation to share your photos with the world. In fact, you will want to take a complete break from social media until your injury claim gets resolved. Anything you post, photos or comments, can get twisted and used against you in your claim or a lawsuit. A Virginia personal injury attorney can explain more strategies that could be helpful to your case.

About the Author
Peter DePaolis joined the firm in 1980 and has since represented a large number of individuals involved in automobile collisions, truck accidents, bus crashes, defective products, and medical malpractice cases. A significant portion of Mr. DePaolis’ practice is devoted to working on behalf of people suffering from asbestosis, mesothelioma, and other asbestos-related cancers. He has led his firm’s fight against the asbestos industry and has recovered over $30 million in damages for asbestos victims and their families.