- Photos can be essential evidence to building your claim and recovering money for your losses due to a car accident.
- If you are not severely injured, and it is safe to do so, one of the most important things you can do after a collision is to take photos and video to document damage at the accident scene.
- If you are unable to document the scene, ask a friend or family member to visit to the scene as soon as possible to do so.
- Whenever possible, accident scene photos should include damage to both cars, debris, skid marks, nearby road signs or traffic lights, weather conditions, and witnesses (with permission) and surrounding businesses.
In the seconds following a car accident, being able to act quickly is essential. Thinking on your feet and taking action can be the difference between a fair settlement offer that fully covers the extent of your injuries, and one that barely scratches the surface. One of the most important things that you can do after a collision — assuming that you are physically able and it is safe to do so and you are not severely injured—is to take photos and video to document the damage and accident scene. If you cannot take photos immediately following your accident, ask a friend or family member to return to the scene as soon as possible to do so.
In Georgia, you have the right to file a claim with the insurance company, or file a suit against an at-fault driver after a car accident. Georgia law requires all drivers to have at least minimal auto insurance limits for bodily caused by negligence (see the Georgia Office of Insurance and Safety Fire Commissioner). Photos can be essential evidence to build your claim and recover money for your losses. Here are some things that you should take photos of after an auto accident that can help your claim:
Photograph Your Vehicle To Prove The Damage and How the Accident Happened
Take multiple photos of your vehicle as soon as you can after an accident. Focus on getting shots from plenty of angles, and be sure to capture the most highly damaged areas. If your airbags imploded or your vehicle suffered any internal damage, take photos of this, too. If you are not able to photograph your car or truck at the accident scene, you may be able to do so later at the storage facility or the body shop, if the car will be repaired.
The Other Driver’s Vehicle
Snap some shots of the other driver’s vehicle after a car accident, too. Obviously, a driver may be less inclined to let you photograph the vehicle interior so be careful not to cause a confrontation. But, if you can, taking pictures of the exterior of the vehicle can help to demonstrate points of vehicle contact, and how the accident took place. While you are at it, take pictures of the vehicle’s license plate as well.
Glass, Vehicle Parts, and Debris
When two or more vehicles collide, broken glass, broken vehicle parts, and debris strewn throughout the surrounding area is likely. If it is safe to do so, take as many photos as you can of all of the above. Do not take photos if doing so means putting yourself in harm’s way. If the street or highway where your car accident occurred remains open to traffic while the accident is being cleared, take photos from a safe distance, but do not stand in the street and put yourself at risk of being struck by a passing vehicle.
Don’t Forget About Skid Marks
Skid marks indicate a driver tried to stop suddenly and may indicate a driver was speeding or driving too fast for traffic conditions. If there are skid marks on the pavement where your accident occurred, photograph these marks. Try to show the skid marks in relation to where the collision occurred. Photos of skid marks can help to prove the fault of the other driver and pictures should be taken as soon as possible before they fade or wash away, or other skid marks appear, making it difficult to prove what happened in your accident case.
Nearby Road Signs and Traffic Lights: Proving the Facts of Your Car Accident
When you document nearby road signs and traffic signals, you are also taking steps to show how these signs or signals may have been ignored. For example, if there was a yield sign that was clearly visible at the intersection of your accident, but the other driver failed to yield, then he or she may be held liable for your injuries. Make sure to document where the crash happened, such as the middle of a road, on a curve, in a parking lot, or at an intersection.
Weather Conditions Can Be Important
You may think that weather conditions do not matter much. However, weather conditions can greatly affect an accident. Wet surfaces, snow, or debris in the road caused by wind can have a large effect on the occurrence of an accident. Driving too fast for conditions is a common cause of Georgia motor vehicle accidents. Was the other driver going too fast, even if not speeding? After your accident, take some photos that answer these questions: Was it dark or dusk when the accident occurred? Cloudy? Raining? What were the weather conditions like when you were hit? Is there standing water on the road? Take a photograph of it. Standing water on a road way may also indicate a road maintenance issue if storm drains are clogged or even a defective roadway design.
Use Photos to Document and Prove Your Injuries
One of the most important things that you can document after a car or truck accident, or any other type of injury, is the extent of injuries that you have suffered. Take a picture of your injuries as soon as you are able to after the accident. You may need to ask a friend or family member to help you. As time passes, continue to document – do you now have a scar from where you had to have surgery? Did you have to wear a cast? Is a part of your body permanently crippled? When you file a claim for damages, these photos can help to demonstrate the severity of the injuries that you have suffered, and also prove to an insurance company that the injuries are not fabricated.
IMPORTANT TIP: When you photograph a bump, bruise, scrape, contusion or scar, take several pictures from different angles and distances. It can be hard to tell a knee from an elbow if the picture is too close to the body.
Witnesses and Surrounding Businesses
Taking photos of witnesses (making sure you have their permission) will only be possible in the moments following your crash; if you wait too long, the witnesses will have left. However, taking photos of witnesses can help you to remember that there were others there who saw your crash, and who may be able to testify on your behalf at a later time. You should try to get the witnesses’ contact information so that you can reach them later to get their statements about how the accident occurred.
Taking photos of surrounding businesses also is a good idea. Some businesses have security cameras set up to protect their premises. The security cameras may video-record an auto accident. The footage may be essential to proving your accident claim. Taking photos of surrounding businesses will help you or an attorney know which businesses to contact about obtaining possible video footage. Security camera video footage is typically recorded over after a certain period of time, so it is important to contact an attorney immediately after an accident to try to identify and preserve evidence before it disappears.
Talk to a Lawyer as Soon as You Can after an Auto or Truck Accident
At The Millar Law Firm, we understand how to build a compelling case for compensation. The sooner you call us, the sooner we can start investigating your case and gathering photographs, videotapes and other evidence to support your accident claim. If you have been in a vehicle accident caused by another driver’s carelessness or negligence, you deserve a full settlement. In Georgia, you have two years to file a civil action after a personal injury, per Georgia Code Section 9-3-20. Because of this, we encourage you to not wait a moment longer to take action.
To learn more about our car accident injury law firm with law offices in Atlanta and our South Atlanta car accident lawyers and how we can help you, reach out to us today. We are reachable by phone 24/7, or you can fill out our online contact form to reach an attorney. We look forward to hearing from you.