How to Take Pictures of Your Vehicle After an Accident

Photographic evidence may assist you in proving your injuries, how the accident occurred, the severity of the impact, and who is at fault. Frequently, parties will disagree over the facts of an accident. Photos that support your recollection are more powerful than a he-said-she-said argument.

Being involved in a car accident is a traumatic experience, causing you to forget important details. Taking photos of your car after an accident can help trigger your memory of some of the smaller details that can easily escape your mind. Referring back to photos can support in your claim when speaking to attorneys, insurance companies, or the jury.

Timing is everything:

The strongest photos are taken within 48 hours of the accident. Even sooner is better.  However, if you are injured and unable to take photos, as soon as you are able to obtain them is fine. You do not have to be the individual who snaps the photos. A family member, friend, witness, mechanic, or attorney may take them for you.

The clearer and more complete the series of photos of your car are, the stronger your proof will be. Often times, by the time individuals hire an attorney, the window of opportunity to take photos has ended. As a result, the number of photos, angle of the shots, and identification photos are usually incomplete. Photos from a witness, who took a photo of your vehicle at the scene of the accident is extremely helpful. However, those photos frequently do not reveal the entire extent of the damage. Additionally, when people do take photos of their vehicle, too commonly, those photos don’t capture the state of the whole vehicle. Multiple photos of a dent, without all sides of the vehicle may not be the most helpful.

If you are physically able to take photos of your vehicle at the scene, it is highly recommended to do so.  The closer in time the photos were taken after the scene, the stronger your photographic evidence. The time frame from when the collision occurred to when the police arrive is usually short. Within this time, if you are able to safely do so, take as many pictures of the overall scene, with the involved vehicles in sight, as you possibly can.  Because of safety precautions, police officers tend to the vehicles out of the roadway quickly. However, capturing the scene unaltered before the police arrive, can be of benefit to you.

How to take photos:

Your photos should be clear, providing an accurate representation of your vehicle and the scene of the accident.  Be aware of sunlight and other weather conditions that can affect the way your photos turn out. Experimenting with different flash intensities can also affect the way your photos look. It’s best to take some both with and without a flash, to prevent any reflections that may alter what your car looks like.

The device you use does not matter, so long as you are able to capture the damage accurately. Your phone is perfectly acceptable for taking photos, so long as the damage and vehicle are visible.

Accurately capturing the damage is important. In photos, damage may look insignificant or smaller than in actuality. The best way to ensure the damage shown is in scale is to take photos close ups and distant photos. Take as many photos as you need to in order to show the extent of the damage.

What to include in your photos:

You should take at least 5 photos in addition to the portions of your vehicle that are damaged.

  1. The driver’s side
  2. The passengers’ side
  3. The front view, including license plate
  4. The rear view, including license plate
  5. A close-up of the registration and inspection sticker on the windshield.

You should take photos of your car both up close and from a few feet away. Take photos of every angle of your vehicle, without cutting a portion of that angle out. First, take photos of every area where there is damage as a result of the accident.  Take photos from a few feet away, as to depict the damage in relation to the entire vehicle.  Then take photos close up, capturing the details in the damage.  Take as many as you need to show the damage accurately to someone who will be unable to inspect the vehicle later on. Next, take a photo of each side of the vehicle. Take one of the driver’s side, one of the passenger’s side, and the rear and front of the car, including the license plates. If your license plates are bent or broken, do not try to fix them to make the plate legible, as showing what damage occurred is your main goal. Take a picture of your registration and inspection stickers on your front windshield, so that the information on them can be read. If the window and stickers are destroyed, take a photo that shows the entire windshield and another up close, showing as much information as possible. Be sure your reflection is not seen in any of the photos.

If you are able, take pictures of more than just your vehicle. If safe, take pictures of the scene, the property damage left at the incident.  Demonstrating any property damage, skid marks in the road, vehicle parts, shattered glass, and other debris in your photo is crucial. Capturing the overall scene is significant in that it paints a picture of how the accident occurred.

Taking a photo from far away to include things like streetlights, stop signs, intersections or other buildings, may give a better image as to what exactly happened. The overall environment of the accident plays a big role. Things like weather conditions and the time of day can be a significant factor in determining your claim. Photos that are marked with the date and time of the accident can be beneficial.

If you are able to immediately after the accident, you should take photos of the other vehicles involved in the accident. Do not attempt to find the other vehicles at a later date to take photographs.

Having the proper evidence from your car accident may be require in litigating your personal injury claim. Contacting the Law Offices of Jennifer G. Tocci, P.C., as soon as possible after your accident gives us a better opportunity to gather evidence before it is gone forever. We offer free consultations and full-service personal injury legal representation. Schedule your appointment by calling (631) 343-7676.