In a Car Accident? Here’s What Pictures to Take At the Scene

No one plans for a car accident to happen, but many of us will experience one at some point. It’s a good idea to be knowledgeable ahead of time about what you should do at the scene of a crash.

One of the most important steps you can take to preserve evidence is also a simple one: take pictures. Today we’ll explore some of the types of pictures that may be most useful. While we hope you won’t need it, we encourage you to bookmark this post or print it out and save it in your glovebox.

Safety Comes First When Taking Photos

Before we dive into this topic, we have a caveat. (We’re lawyers, what can we say?) Your health and safety always come first!

Sometimes, the safest place for you to be immediately after an accident is in your vehicle until help arrives. Walking around the accident scene to take photos could put you in danger of being hit a second time. This is particularly true if the accident is in a busy intersection or freeway. No amount of money or extra evidence is worth your safety. So please, exercise caution and good judgment.

Your Phone is Great for Taking Accident Scene Pictures

You do not need a fancy camera to take accident scene photos. Most phones work perfect for this job! Another benefit of using your phone is that time and location data get saved with every photo. This provides an additional layer of evidence for your case.

Tips for Taking Accident Scene Pictures

If it is safe to do so, taking pictures can help tell a story about how your collision happened. Pictures can also be a powerful form of evidence to demonstrate who was at fault.

Here are a few tips to consider:

  • Take pictures as soon as safely possible. Don’t wait for the police to arrive – by then, the position of the cars and other critical evidence may have changed.
  • Capture both closeup and distance photos. Nolo suggests taking photos close up (1-5 feet away), mid-distance (10-15 feet away), and far away (20 or more feet). The variety will help provide scale and location for your crash scene.
  • Use a variety of flash and no-flash settings. Taking photos with a variety of lighting settings can reveal different details.
  • Think 360°. If you’re able, take photos that depict the scene 360 degrees around the accident.

Not in a position to take photos? Ask a passenger or witness to assist.

Pictures to Take Following an Accident

When it comes to accident scenes, the more pictures, the better. It’s always better to err on the side of having too many photos than too few.

Here is a list of photos we suggest you take:

  • Position of the cars
  • Damage to the cars, including tires
  • Interior of your vehicle, including deployed airbags (if any)
  • Your injuries (photograph throughout the treatment and recovery process as well)
  • Odometer
  • Road around scene, including skid marks or debris
  • Documents from other driver, such as driver’s license and insurance card
  • Road conditions
  • Traffic or road signs
  • Weather or environmental conditions
  • Any suspected contributory factor to the accident
  • Surrounding businesses (it’s possible they may have exterior cameras which captured video of the accident)

There is a short window of time to gather this valuable evidence, so remember, the more photos you take, the better.

List of Photos to Take at the Car Accident Scene

A Free, Valuable Resource for Car Accident Victims

One of our attorneys, Erik Ladenburg, has compiled many of the questions he gets asked about car accidents and addressed them in a book called What Insurance Companies Don’t Want You To Know.

This e-book covers everything from what to do at the scene of an accident to how to handle phone calls from the insurance agent and more.

We’d like to offer this resource to you at no cost. Please request your copy by filling out the short form and we’ll send it by email.

Need More Help? Call us for a Free Consultation

Our team has decades of experience helping victims of car accidents through the claims process and win fair settlements. There’s no fee to talk with one of our attorneys to learn more. We also work on a contingency basis which means you only pay us if we win you a settlement.

Contact us today.

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