That old adage, “a picture is worth a thousand words“, is never more true than when litigating car accident cases. A good photograph of the accident scene can very often make or break one’s case. Yet I can’t tell you how often clients come to me without such evidence. This is even more surprising when you think how many people have smartphones that include cameras. A recent market research study indicates that more and more people are deciding that they do not need a single purpose point-and-shoot camera and instead will opt for a smartphone with that capability. This is’t surprising. And if you consider that most phones now also provide video capability, it is not hard to believe that the demise of the video camera, along with the point and shoot, is upon us.
Why then do so few clients bring pictures with them to their attorney’s office of their accident when they contemplate pursuing a personal injury claim? The obvious reason is that they may be too injured to take photos of the scene. Or else they may be busy tending to a family member or friend who is injured. Clearly, one’s health comes first before the preservation of evidence. Some clients have expressed the opinion that they did not want to appear to be trying to monopolize on the situation for financial gain as the basis for not taking pictures. Still others never really contemplated a personal injury claim at the time of the accident because they didn’t feel they were injured until a day or two later.
Whatever the reason, if you have been involved in a motor vehicle accident, take pictures of the scene, the cars, your injuries, the other driver, everything. Use your phone and preserve the photos as quickly as possible. As a backup, put a disposable camera in your console or glove box in case you can’t find your phone at the accident scene. You can always decline to make a claim. But, better to have them and not need them than to not have them at all.