Should I Take Pictures Of The Cars After A Motor Vehicle Accident?
The answer is an unqualified YES. Absolutely. Everyone has a cell phone with a camera now. Obviously, your healthy, safety, and well-being of you and your passengers are paramount. If you have your wits, and your bodily integrity, after a motor vehicle accident, take pictures of:
- the vehicles
- the scene
- any injury
- stop lights or signs
- witnesses and their IDs
- the tags of the involved vehicles
- the drivers
- their driver’s licenses, and
- anything else you can
Documentation, or the lack of it, is often key in a personal injury settlement negotiation or a personal injury lawsuit. With respect to jurors, and, frankly, a lot of judges, there is almost an expectation that some aspects of the case is on film or has been photographed. Recent events concerning the murder of George Floyd have shown us all the power of footage. The perception appears to be that most modern events are just captured on film, and maybe from multiple sources. While my experience as personal injury lawyer suggests this is not true, there is an expectation, and corresponding questioning attitude if footage is not produced, of video. Where that expectation exists, the absence of photographic evidence can be decisive.
Where liability is contested, the layout of the scene is important. Photographs of the intersection and involved roads are important.
Photographs of the damage to the vehicles - or absence of damage- can be determinative in a case.
I’ve had more than one client insist that photographs offered at trial showing no visible property damage to their car were actually taken by the insurance company after the repairs had been made. While I can’t speak to the accuracy of that contention, it goes without saying that accurate, contemporaneous pictures of the cars can vital.
-This Article was updated by Eric Kirk on 6/10/20.