If you are injured in an accident, all evidence can be crucial – but few are more credible than the photograph. With the prevalence and quality of smartphone cameras, almost everyone has the ability to take pictures at a moment’s notice. Due to that fact, there is very little reason not to whip out your phone and snap a pic. Your car accident attorney will thank you for it.
Photographs as Evidence in a Personal Injury Lawsuit in Illinois
Unfortunately, accidents are a common occurrence. No matter what precautions people take or how diligently they work to avoid mishaps, accidents still happen. People are injured every single day in car crashes, slips and falls, and other accidents that result in serious injuries. Often the cause of these instances is the negligent conduct of another person.
When you suffer an injury due to another’s negligent conduct, you are entitled to seek compensation through a personal injury lawsuit. However, a successful personal injury claim is often dependent on the quality of your representation and the evidence available. It is essential that you prove every element necessary to establish someone else was responsible for your injuries and damages.
Photographs are an essential piece of evidence in nearly every personal injury lawsuit. Pictures from the scene of the accident could contain vital details that could be missed during the chaos that almost always ensues after someone is badly hurt. Additionally, photographs can help you and other witnesses accurately recall the events surrounding an accident.
The Importance of Photographs of an Accident Scene
No matter what type of accident or event caused your injury, photographs are an effective tool to help you prevail in a personal injury lawsuit. This is especially the case in accidents that tend to have multiple theories of liability. Images of the scene can help establish what was where, the positioning of key elements involved in the incident, and a graphic depiction of any injuries suffered at the time, including minor ones.
Pictures also could reveal essential information that does not appear in any accident or police report. It is not uncommon for a witness to have a slightly different recollection of what occurred – memories are not as reliable as we once thought. Photographs from the scene could evoke a more accurate memory.
Guidelines for Taking Photographs of an Accident Scene in California
First, only take photographs if it is physically possible and it would not result in further injuries. After any accident, getting proper medical attention should be your first concern. If you are unable to take photographs yourself, you should attempt to have either a friend or witness you can rely on to document the scene.
If you are physically capable of taking photographs, then the following are some suggestions to consider that will help ensure that your pictures provide the most benefits to your personal injury claim.
- Pictures of your injuries are essential in helping show the extent of the harm you suffered. It also documents that they occurred at the time of the accident. However, many injuries, such as bruises, may not be readily apparent. Be sure to document any injuries you sustained on an almost daily basis.
- In a situation involving a car accident, be sure to take photos of all the property damage to the vehicles and their relative position to one another. Taking photos of the surrounding roadway is also vital, including traffic signs, road conditions, and skid marks. Be sure to include anything that might be obscured, such as a faded painted lane or trees covering a sign. Also, get the small details, such as license plate numbers, driver’s licenses from anyone involved, and insurance information.
- In any type of accident, taking pictures of the surrounding scene could be vital in recreating the events that caused your injury. Furthermore, the pictures could provide additional evidence that might not have seemed relevant at the time. For example, taking pictures of adjacent or nearby businesses could lead to the discovery of surveillance video.
- Camera phones have almost unlimited storage capacity – so take more photos than you think are necessary. You never know when one small detail or a slight change in angle could swing a personal injury case in your favor.
- If possible, and you know how all photographs should be correctly time and date stamped to help establish they were contemporary with the accident.
Photographing Your Injuries After an Accident
While it was quickly addressed above, photographs of your injuries are often crucial to a successful personal injury lawsuit. Below are some other considerations related to taking pictures of your injuries.
- Try to avoid wearing any jewelry around the area of the injury. Also, you should not wear any makeup if you have sustained facial injuries. Nothing in the photographs should distract the viewer from the primary purpose of documenting your injuries.
- Take photographs at several angles, including close-ups and entire body shots. It is essential to capture the full extent of the harm you suffered.
- Photographs should be taken immediately after the accident. However, it is crucial that you should continue to fully document your injuries. Especially any bruises that develop or the aftermath of any required surgery or medical treatment.
- Do not smile or dramatically pose in any of the photographs; the pictures are for legal evidence – take it seriously, because your opponents sure will.
Here’s your takeaway: Take pictures. Take as many pictures as you can and then take some more. It’s better to have and not need than need and not have. A photo is more credible than any human memory – use the computer in your pocket to your advantage and document the scene as much as you can.