What Photos Should I Capture at an Accident Scene?
If you have ever been in a car accident, you are all too aware of the overwhelming feelings that accompany the minutes following the incident. Unfortunately, information collected during this timeframe can be very valuable. Thankfully smartphones make it easy to capture the scene so that you don’t miss any important details that could be crucial to potential legal proceedings down the road. Here are several things you should consider photographing at an accident scene.
- Scene overview – Start by taking general photos of the entire accident site. Take various angles and wide shots so that you are able to get a big picture of the surrounding area.
- Traffic signs – Look for, and take photos that show traffic lights, signs and other demarcations to give background on the department of transportation’s expectations for that area of roadway.
- Vehicles in accident – Take photos that show all the vehicles that were involved in the accident. Be sure to capture their proximity to both each other and the actual spot where the indent occurred. Try to take enough images to demonstrate the location of each vehicle at the time of the accident.
- References – Be sure to include references that might provide additional insight to the accident. If it was a no passing zone and there is a sign indicating such, try to get a photograph of the at-fault driver’s vehicle with the sign. Additionally, try to include all intersections and street signs that will clarify the location of the accident.
- Weather – Capture images of the conditions at the time of the accident. This might include clouds, snow, rain, sun, dusk, or anything that could be used as factors in the accident. In addition to showing why the incident occurred, they might also be important in disproving any false information about conditions.
- Damage – Take detailed photos of all damaged items at the scene. This might include trees, signs, mailboxes, guardrails or other stationary objects. Additionally, take photographs of all damage to your car as well as all other vehicles involved in the accident. Be sure to take photographs from several angles to ensure that the damage is clearly and accurately represented.
- Roadway – Check the roadway for skid marks and take clear photos that show the direction of the marks and where vehicles were located when they started breaking. Additionally, if there is a debris trail, take photos of this as well. Debris might include glass, vehicle parts or other items that were damaged as a result of the accident.
- Time and date stamps – If you are able, take images that will show the time and date of the accident. This might include a photo of another person’s cell phone with the accident scene in the background. In addition, be sure the time and date stamp is activated on your camera.
- Individuals involved in accident – If possible, take photos of the individuals involved in the incident. This includes other drivers, passengers and even witnesses. This will help to provide identification later if there is confusion about who was involved. Additionally, if it is possible, photograph any injuries as a result of the accident, including broken bones, lacerations, abrasions and contusions.
- Law enforcement – Take a photograph of all law enforcement officials (both police and paramedics) at the scene as well as their vehicles.
While no one ever wants to be involved in a car accident, it is nice to know that something as simple as a smartphone photograph can make the situation less stressful as you try to piece together the circumstances of the incident.