If you, or a family member, are injured in a car accident, taking photographs at the scene of the accident is a precise and practical way of collecting evidence.
This is according to Kirstie Haslam, partner at DSC Attorneys, who says that graphic images of the damages, injuries and factors that may have contributed to the accident are not easily challenged.
“As a result, car accident photographs are vital legal aids that can be used to help you secure a claim from the Road Accident Fund (RAF), and/or an insurance company,” she said.
“Photographs can be used to corroborate your version of how and why the accident occurred. They are also useful visual aids that can jog your memory, when and if the details of the accident begin to fade.”
To ensure you capture the right kinds of images in the best possible way, Haslam provides a quick guide on what pictures to take, and the important points to remember.
What photos to take at the accident scene
- Damages: Make a record of the damages to your car, and the other vehicle or vehicles involved in the accident. If there is debris lying on the road, capture it on camera. Similarly with a road barrier, traffic sign or building that was damaged as a result of the accident.
- Injuries: Take photographs of your injuries, and the injuries of anyone else involved in the accident.
- The scene: Photograph the surrounding area to provide context to the accident. Take pictures of the road and pay special attention to skid marks or partially concealed road signs. Snap the street lamps, houses and businesses located nearby, and any other elements that can be used as evidence.
- Accident details: Ensure you capture important details, such as the make and model of the other car or cars, license plates and discs and the drivers’ identity document or driver’s license.
- Weather conditions: Record the ambient conditions at the scene of the accident. If it is dark or the visibility is poor, take photographs with and without a flash.
To ensure your car accident photographs provide a concise record of events, Haslam said that there are a few important points to bear in mind:
- Ensure the camera’s date and time stamp functionality is working.
- Take multiple photographs, as relevant, of all the elements mentioned above, including the scene, damages, causal factors, conditions and injuries.
- Take close up and wide angle shots of all the different aspects of the accident.
- Make use of your camera’s video mode as another way of collecting evidence.
- Be aware of the lighting and use a flash if required.