Photographs are about the most powerful type of real evidence we ever can produce in a personal injury trial. And yet, so often by the time we meet our client or take over the case from some other lawyer, the opportunity to properly record the best evidence is often lost. This article is devoted to guiding both our clients and non-clients looking to make sure that they preserve the powerful evidence that photographs can provide.
A) Motor Vehicle Collisions:
We recommend that clients keep a camera in their vehicle. A ten dollar disposable camera from the grocery store kept in you glove compartment is perfect. Also, don't forget that you may already be carrying around a very powerful camera every day and everywhere you go: your cell phone. Many phones now take better pictures than the first digital cameras. If an accident occurs, whether it involves you or not, you are ready.
Photos of the vehicles, the street, and any injured parties being attended to by emergency personnel are all great topics. But, also, please photograph skid marks with some kind of context, like a person or and object like a car or tree. This will help experts later determine the extent to pre-collision braking and will also assist in speed at impact determinations. Also consider snapping photos of witnesses claiming knowledge of the crash. Sometimes witnesses disappear after crashes, and a photo could be very helpful in locating these people at a later time.
If you can, photograph the interior of the at-fault party's car. Do not trespass! Even a photo or two through the side window would be fine. If alcohol is factor, empty cans or bottles might be helpful. Also, sometimes speedometers peg at their last speed before impact. Without a photo of the speedometer, that great evidence will generally be lost.
B) Slip and Falls:
Photographs of the location where the injuries occurred are really critical. If it's a spill, take photos of the spill, the personnel subsequently cleaning it up and photographs of the people, both employees and witnesses present at the scene. Take photos both close up and far away. If there are bruises noticeable right at the scene, photographing those with the background being the scene would be ideal. Trip hazards are also especially important to pictures of, because they are so easily fixed once you leave. If you fill out any forms at the scene and they won't give you a copy, take a picture of the form.
C) Photographing the Injuries:
Quite often the major focus during injury litigation turns on whether there were noticeable injuries after the accident. Photographing abrasions, bruises, and various developments in the treatment process would be ideal. The photos should be both up close and further back and where possible G-rated in what they show.
Photographing evidence at the scene of injury accidents and injuries themselves are invaluable in the process of proving cases. They can help in settlement negotiations and can certainly help juries fully understand what otherwise might be difficult to grasp.
At Anderson, Hemmat & McQuinn, we know that no one plans on getting into an accident, but if it happens and you are prepared, you will be able to snap a couple of pictures and preserve your rights. Please call us today if you questions about your accident.