Car accidents can be frightening, disorienting, and traumatic. It’s easy to mis-remember the details after the accident. Occasionally, the victim of a car accident might black out certain aspects before, during, or after the accident occured. This is all perfectly normal. For these reasons and others, taking photos or videos immediately after a car accident can help protect you from insurance fraud, build your case should you decide to file a claim or pursue legal action, and help a personal injury attorney determine the best steps to take after an accident.
Even if you suspect that the collision was your fault (which you should not admit; wait for fault to be determined), photos of the accident can show certain conditions that might decrease your liability.
If you’ve been in a car accident, it’s important to take the following steps:
We all know the importance of taking photos at the scene of a car accident, but which photos will be the most helpful for filing a claim against the at-fault driver?
The Actual Accident: First, take a photo of the vehicles involved exactly where they were positioned due to the accident. Do not move the vehicles first! If the accident is blocking traffic, wait for the police to arrive and redirect traffic.
Walk around each vehicle and take close-up photos of dents, scratches, broken glass, or deployed airbags, as well as any damaged guardrails, street signs, sidewalks, lampposts, or trees nearby. Take photos from as many angles as you can manage, like the front, back, and sides. Lean inside your car, if it’s safe to do so, and snap photos of any interior property damage or damaged items, which can be added to your claim. Take photos with and without flash. Include pictures of skid marks, debris, broken glass, stop signs, traffic lights, and other clues as to how the crash occurred.
License Plates: Take a picture of the license plate of the other vehicle involved in the accident. Experienced personal injury attorneys have the technology to run a license plate to see if there is any automobile insurance covering the vehicle associated with the accident. Also photograph the make, model, and year of any other vehicles involved in the accident.
Injuries: Take photos of any injuries on yourself or others involved in the accident. However, don’t take photos of someone else’s injuries without their permission.
Document the Documents: There are some specific details you’ll need from the other driver. You can write these down, type them into your phone, or photograph them. For example, using your phone, you can snap a photo of:
Context: Take photos of the context, which means the situation in which the accident occured, like the area surrounding the scene of the accident, the weather, the road conditions, and the time of day. Even if the relevance isn’t immediately clear to you while taking these photos, there may be elements that can later be used as evidence.
Surrounding Businesses: Take pictures of nearby businesses, some of which may have security cameras that captured the accident on video. A photo will help you or your personal injury lawyer remember to contact these businesses later, when gathering additional evidence to make a successful claim.
Videos of the accident or audio recordings of conversations during or after the accident are also helpful in the event that you file a claim or hire a personal injury attorney. Whether photographic evidence, video evidence, audio recordings, or all three, detailed documentation is essential to building your case.
If a victim of a car accident is too injured to take photos at the scene, another individual involved in the accident should take photos. You could also try to get a family member, friend, eye witness, or bystander to take pictures on your behalf and send them to you. If you are alone in a car accident and too injured to make such arrangements with someone else at the scene, don’t worry. Photos of your injuries, damages to your vehicle, and skid marks can always be taken at a later date.
If you decide to file a claim after a car accident, you’ll want to make an appointment to discuss your case and share your evidence with the personal injury attorneys at Breaux Law Firm. Our experienced lawyers know the ins and outs of dealing with insurance companies and their process for approving or denying claims. An attorney at Breaux Law Firm can help evaluate all the evidence you’ve gathered from the scene of the accident to determine whether or not you have the necessary information to be fully compensated for your injuries and damages. A personal injury lawyer will guide you through the claims process and make sure the insurance company takes your claim seriously. He or she will also be aware of your state’s statute of limitations, which is the deadline for filing a claim after an accident.
Above all else, keep in mind that a personal injury attorney should treat you with respect, care, and concern. You need expert legal advice and someone to fight for what you deserve—and that’s our mission at Breaux Law Firm. Filing a claim can be a stressful and difficult process, but working with a lawyer should not be.
If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident and is looking for a personal injury attorney in New Orleans or Louisiana, reach out to us at Breaux Law Firm. We provide personalized attention and care to each of our clients, and we fight for you as if we were fighting for one of our own family members.
Contact the personal injury team at Breaux Law Firm for a free consultation today.