Take Pictures As Soon As Possible
We have all heard that old adage --- "a picture speaks a thousand words". Pictures are a true snapshot of time, and if you are injured in an accident, it is critical that you document the extent of your injuries and the time that they occurred. A picture holds great value because it is less biased than a witness testimony. Claimants and witnesses may exaggerate or lie, but a photo is unbiased and objective.
Accident scenes change, especially following an accident. People usually heal (at least to some extent) from their injuries. If you were injured in a car accident, there may have been construction taking place and if you were not able to get photos of the accident scene and it changes, it then becomes impossible to accurately show what the scene looked like at the time of the accident.
Furthermore, if you have bruising, scrapes or cuts following an accident, you should take pictures as soon as possible and for a number of days thereafter as some injuries become more apparent. These may disappear as time goes by. Even if a doctor documents these injuries in your medical records, pictures can be much more convincing. Liability insurance companies sometimes argue that you went to the doctor too many times, and/or that your injuries were not caused by the accident, or you were not in pain. You can combat this with pictures of your injuries.
At Sharpe Beresh & Gnyś we recommend that you take pictures of the accident scene (or any evidence) as soon as possible following an accident, and make notes as to the date and time and who took the picture using what type of photographic device. The types of pictures that can be taken, either by yourself, an eye-witnesses, or passersby could be:
- in a car accident, pictures of the vehicles, the surrounding area, on-site emergency services assisting at the scene, pictures of yourself showing the extent of your injuries, wide shots of tire skid markings to show vehicle travel paths
- in a slip and fall, pictures of the surrounding area, the specific spot where the accident occurred focusing on slippery ice or a hole or other hazards that may have contributed to the fall itself
- in a bicycle accident with a car, pictures of the surrounding area, the state of the road or surface that the bike was travelling on, bike lanes or street impediments, the vehicle involved, curbs or hazards
If you were injured on someone else’s property, pictures may be crucial. It has been our experience at Sharpe Beresh & Gnyś that several things can happen, especially when someone is injured on someone else's property. Here are a few examples:
- A restaurant closes down
- Steps are fixed and or painted.
- Railings are added to stairs.
- Broken tile repaired.
- Broken shower glass fixed.
- Liquid spills cleaned up.
- A hole in the pavement in a shopping mall parking lot is repaired and no longer visible.
You always want pictures of the incident scene if possible. If you have pictures then the person who caused the accident (or company) may be less likely to deny the true version of the story. Photographs showing the entire accident can help you make your case to claims adjusters if there is a dispute. Claims adjusters need to be able to justify to their supervisor their reason for asking for a certain amount of authority (money) to settle a personal injury claim. If you send the adjuster pictures, then you may help give them the documentation that they need to justify their offer. A picture may show the severity of the damage.
A good picture may be worth a thousand words ... but it could also be worth thousands of dollars for your personal injury claim.