In the unfortunate event of a Colorado car crash, photographs are absolutely necessary for a personal injury claim. Pictures effectively help eliminate doubt and assign liability to the at-fault driver because they graphically depict the accident scene at rest. Having pictures in a case headed to trial are far more convincing than one person’s depiction of the scene itself. As such, parties to an auto accident should always photograph the accident scene.
What to do at the Accident Scene
It goes without saying that the most important factor following an accident is the safety of those involved as well as any witnesses. Immediately after an accident happens, it is necessary to call 911. While waiting for the police to arrive, those involves should begin the process of documenting by way of pictures. The parties should be sure the camera has a time-stamp function.
Understandably, accident scenes are often cleared by police shortly after they arrive. They do this for the safety of those involves and so traffic can resume flowing freely. Accordingly, the parties should move quickly to collect important evidence of negligence and causation. This is the most vital opportunity to photograph the scene exactly as it was at the time of the collision.
Photographs can be used to convince an insurance company what happened. To understand this, it is necessary to consider a claim from an insurance adjuster’s vantage point. If the other driver recants a false story, the adjuster will have to evaluate liability accordingly. If the police report is silent as to fault, the claim becomes word versus word. Accident scene photographs tell a story of how the events progressed in the accident. They are clear and graphic evidence of both property damage and injuries. Unfortunately, victims oftentimes overlook important details. Photographs reveal both the obvious and subtle evidence that help support a personal injury claim.
How to Take Effective Car Accident Pictures
One or two photographs will be as helpful as a dozen or more. The more photographs taken at the scene, the better chance at least one of them will accurately depict the scene. Thus, the parties should take as many photographs as possible. The parties should begin by taking several wide shots from different angles to provide an overall view of the accident scene. These will set the stage for more detailed photos to follow.
In addition, the parties should take photographs of all traffic indicators, including traffic signals, stop signs, or anything else that can be tied to liability. The vehicles should also be photographed, as close to the actual accident spot as possible. The photographs should demonstrate the general position of each vehicle at the time of the accident and should include close-up damage to each vehicle. If there is any debris that came off of either vehicle at the moment of impact, these should be documented too.
Weather conditions should also be photographed. While seemingly unimportant at the time, the location of the sun and conditions of the roadways, including rain and ice, can help disprove an alternative theory of fault by an at-fault driver. Skid marks should also be photographed. The length, breadth, and direction of the skid marks can help identify a driver’s negligence.
Finally, the parties should photograph everyone at the scene. This includes the participants (at-fault driver and passengers), witnesses, police officers, and paramedics. Having a visual record of the people at the scene will help connect faces with statements later on. Photographs will also help avoid confusion about the identity of participants versus witnesses. A visual record of injuries should also be obtained, including graphic images of lacerations, contusions, abrasions, blood, and broken bones.
After the dust settles, the parties will be released. The following day, it is important to gather more evidence. Photographs of latent injuries should be taken. It may take a day or two before discoloration and swelling appears. In addition, it may be worth returning to the scene with a better digital or high resolution camera to document everything again.
When faced with the stress of being in a car accident, the last thing most people want to consider it taking out a camera. But having photographic evidence of the event will help demonstrate what happened. Taking good car accident photos and using them in conjunction with other evidence demonstrates knowledge and motivation. Efforts relating to photographs will undoubtedly strengthen a claim and likely result in a higher settlement offer.
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