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Getting the Picture: Make Smart Use of Your Smartphone at an Accident Scene

October 21, 2016 | Michael Barasch

Man using smartphone to take picture of accident

We’ve all heard the old adage: a picture is worth a thousand words. That’s certainly true in the courtroom, where pictures can be invaluable. It is no easy thing for jurors to form a clear understanding of a place or a thing or an event purely from a description. Lawyers can use photographs to help the jury understand the testimony of the witnesses. Pictures can also substantiate what a witness is saying. People’s memories fade and differ, and (gasp) sometimes people lie; but a photograph doesn’t lie, and can shed light on what really happened.

With the advent of smartphones, most of us have a camera at our fingertips. After an accident, taking photographs might be the last thing that you are thinking about. But if you are able, taking pictures at an accident scene is a smart thing to do. Here are some tips.

Car accident: If you are in a car accident, and it is safe to do so, either you or someone at the scene should take photographs of the damage to your car, as well as to the other car involved Take photographs of the position of both cars. Take a step back so that you capture the full scene. If you believe there was something that was obstructing the other driver’s view, you should take a photo of it. After a car accident, cars are removed from the scene rather quickly, and these photographs could be the key to the case.

Trip/slip and falls: If you slip or trip and injure yourself, you can use your smartphone to show why. Was it a raised or broken sidewalk flag? A broken step? Something on the floor in a supermarket? Take a photo of it, or, better yet, several photos. Take a photo from the direction that you were walking demonstrating what you saw immediately before your accident; a photograph showing the height differential of the sidewalk flags; a photo of the surrounding area, etc. Whatever you think will help to show the problem, and how it was dangerous, should be photographed.

Broken steps and sidewalks can be repaired by the time you hire an attorney. Transient conditions like spills and rubbish on the floor may be cleaned up immediately after your accident. The photographs will show what it looked like on the day of the accident. Without your photographs, it is your word against the defendant’s that the condition even existed.

We cannot overemphasize how important photographs are to a personal injury case. Be smart and put your smart phone to good use.

[ln::firm_name] assists accident victims throughout the greater New York area. If you or a loved one has suffered a serious injury, call 888.746.8212 or contact our firm online to schedule a free consultation.

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