No one expects to be involved in a traffic collision. Yet, there is always a risk that one could happen to you. Even the most defensive, safe drivers sometimes end up in crashes. If you are involved in an accident, it is entirely normal to be confused and overwhelmed by the gravity of the situation. By their very nature, auto accidents are hectic, sometimes even chaotic. It is important that you know what steps to take after a car accident to protect your rights. Among other things, this includes taking extensive photographs of the crash.
Why You Should Take Photographs After a Car Accident
In Illinois, liability for a car accident is based on ‘fault’. As Illinois is a modified comparative fault jurisdiction (735 I.L.C.S. § 5/2-1116), each party will be held liable for their ‘share’ of the blame for the crash. Unfortunately, proving fault is not always easy. Indeed, there are often disputes over who exactly should be held responsible for a car accident. Photographs will serve as an important form of evidence. Your pictures help to document the collision and they help to resolve disputes over liability. In addition, photographs can also show the extent of the damage and the severity of the wreck — thereby supporting a claim for financial compensation.
Five Tips for Taking Useful Photographs
Beyond simply taking pictures, you will want to make sure that photos that you do take are actually useful in the claims process. Here, we offer five tips to help you take effective car accident photographs:
- Take as many pictures as possible. You never know which ones will be useful; you can always delete the unnecessary or duplicate photos after your case is resolved.
- Make sure that you get photos of the full extent of the damage. This includes interior damage and damage to other vehicles.
- Be sure to get the other vehicle’s license plate and its make and model. This will ensure that the vehicle is identified.
- Get some shots of the wider accident scene. In many cases, these pictures can provide much-needed context regarding accident causation.
- Try to capture any unusual or potentially relevant details. For example, if there was a construction sign or some other road hazard that you feel may have impacted the crash, make sure you take a picture of it.
You Should Secure Other Forms of Evidence Too
Photographs are a very important form of evidence in car accident claims. Of course, they are certainly not the only type of relevant evidence. It is in your best interests to try to secure other types of evidence as well. For example, you should write down all of the personal identifying information for the other drivers involved in the crash. In addition, you should try to obtain contact details for any third party who witnesses the collision. When things settle down, it is also a good idea to record your own observations about the collision on a notepad. Do not share this information with the insurance company. Get it into the hands of your Illinois car accident attorney.