Say Cheese (or on Second Thought, Don’t…): Tips for Taking Photos After an Accident
We have covered the steps you should take following an accident in multiple ways here on the Sessums Law Group blog, and if you’ve been reading up, you’ll see that taking photos of the accident is an important, and highly recommended step. However, many of our clients have questions about this, or worse, they come to us with photos that do little or no good in helping their case.
So, what can you do to make sure your accident photos are adequate, and can help you tell the story of what really happened at the scene?
All About Perspective
Taking accident photos isn’t necessarily a time for you to put pressure on yourself to be a prize-winning photographer, but you do need to use some basic photography skill to make sure you get the best pictures possible. Make sure you choose a reference point when taking pictures of the accident scene. A nearby power pole, a house, a sign, etc. is a great place to start. Make sure it’s in each photo, or at least every photo of the scene as a whole. This offers perspective and gives insurance companies, lawyers, etc. a comparison point for scale when looking over the photos.
Keep Your Focus
There is nothing quite as unfortunate as snapping a variety of accident photos, only to come into our office and realize they are all blurry and out of focus. Take time to check that your photos are clear and that your camera is in focus. A handful of well-done photos are worth WAY more to your case than a large number of blurry or poor-quality pictures.
With the popularity of cell phones that include cameras now, most people are capable of taking high-quality pictures at any time. However, if you don’t have a cell phone with a camera, consider keeping a digital camera in your glove box, or even a disposable camera. Keep in mind though that a disposable camera will not allow you to preview the photos you’ve taken, so there’s a higher chance that your pictures could come out blurry.
In the Details
The time immediately following an accident can be stressful, frightening, and, if you’re injured, painful. However, you should try your best to get shots of as many details of the accident scene as you can. Things to include in your list of photos are…
- Photos of any and all injuries inflicted. (Note: do not smile, laugh, or look intentionally happy, in these photos. You would be surprised at how many clients smile for these photos out of habit, and that can actually work against you in a case involving your credibility and physical injuries inflicted during an accident. A neutral expression is best).
- Photos of all damage to each
- Photos of shattered glass, damaged fences, skid marks on the road, etc. Anything that was part of the accident needs to have corresponding photo evidence.
- Panoramic photos of the surrounding area.
- Photos of the vantage point of each driver at the time of the accident.
- Photos of the weather conditions (take these as close to the actual time of the accident as possible, so as to capture the most accurate weather conditions at the time of the collision).
Other details to include in your photos are time/date stamps if possible. These help back up the accuracy of the pictures and can protect you in a case.
We hope this helps give you a better idea of how to handle accident photos while you’re still on the scene. If you live in the greater Lakeland area, we can help you use your photos and other evidence to protect you and make sure you are covered in the event of an accident. We know that being involved in a collision is never a planned event, so when something unexpected happens and you need legal help, we stand for YOU!