After being injured in a car crash, trying to recover compensation for your damages may seem like one gigantic obstacle to overcome. Unfortunately, the burden of proving negligence falls on the crash victim. Evidence from the crash scene, especially photos and videos, provides key information that can help to strengthen your claim.
Pfeifer Morgan and Stesiak discuss images and video footage in a car crash claim, including how this evidence can help provide more insight about a crash and how it occurred. This is especially true in cases where drivers’ accounts of what caused the crash greatly differ.
If you have been injured in a crash, we recommend working with a knowledgeable auto crash attorney in South Bend. Having legal representation often makes a significant difference in the amount of compensation you are able to recover.
What Type of Evidence Do You Need To Prove Your Claim?
To build a strong personal injury claim after an Indiana collision, it is essential to gather as much evidence as possible. It is true that witness testimonies, police reports, and medical records play a vital role in any injury claim. Yet, photos and videos also help by lending a unique and hard-to-dispute visual perspective about how the crash occurred. Images and clear video footage also help to visually demonstrate the severity of an accident victim’s injuries. Additionally, they help to provide context about events leading up to the crash.
What Photos and Videos May Be Valuable to Your Case?
Seeing is believing for many insurance companies, so having visual evidence of a crash and how it occurred can be a powerful persuasion in your favor.
Additional reasons why photos and videos add critical evidence for your case include:
Preserving the Crash Scene
Even if an injured victim remembers details from a crash scene or the responding officer carefully documents the scene in your police report, critical information gets forgotten. When details of the actual scene are not available, it leaves room for doubt.
Taking photos and videos immediately after the accident, however, helps preserve the scene’s condition as it was after the crash. Critical pieces of evidence can include tire marks, or the lack of them, road signs, traffic lights, and road and weather conditions at the time of the crash.
Documenting Vehicle Damage
Photographs of damage to the vehicles involved help to provide further visual evidence and insight into the force of the impact and who may be liable. In cases where drivers do not agree about what occurred, this type of evidence can be a vital game-changer.
Recording Injuries and Medical Treatments
Pictures of your injuries, such as cuts, bruises, or more severe trauma, provide compelling evidence of the harm you suffered. When you combine these images with your medical expenses and other documents you track from the crash, it can further strengthen your claim.
Providing Hard-to-Dispute Chronology of Events
Videos help by recreating the sequence of events leading up to the accident. Depending on how much of the crash was captured, they can provide context and clarity about what happened just before the collision.
Capturing Non-Verbal Intent
Sometimes, a picture or video can capture non-verbal cues that might not be conveyed in written statements. These cues can be essential in assessing the demeanor and intent of the parties involved.
When and How Should You Capture Visual Evidence?
Visual evidence the crash as it occurred could be either still images or video footage. This media could come from various sources, such as:
- Surveillance video
- Traffic cameras
- Smartphone video from an uninvolved bystander
Right after the crash, you are unlikely to know whether any footage is available. However, if your injuries permit you to do so, you can ask people around you if they either saw the crash or captured it on their phone or dashcam. As for surveillance or video footage, this is something an attorney can request on your behalf. The thing to remember here is that you have to act right away. Often, video footage gets overwritten pretty quickly.
Immediately After the Crash
If you are physically able, take pictures and videos of the accident scene, your injuries, and vehicle damage right after the crash. This is when the evidence is most authentic and unpolluted.
Use a Camera or Smartphone:
In today’s digital age, nearly everyone has access to a camera through their smartphones. Ensure your device is always charged and ready to capture evidence.
Do Not Interfere With the Investigation
While it is important to document the scene, make sure not to interfere with law enforcement or emergency responders as they carry out their duties.
Collect Witness Information
After capturing photos and videos, gather contact information from witnesses. Their statements can be invaluable in substantiating your claim.
How Can an Attorney Help You With Visual Evidence?
Hiring an experienced personal injury attorney in South Bend can make a significant difference in the success of your claim. It could also improve your chances of recovering the full and fair compensation you need. For instance, your attorney can:
- Guide you on what to document: Attorneys with extensive experience in personal injury cases can advise you on the specific evidence to capture. This ensures you do not miss critical details.
- Gather and preserve evidence on your behalf: Your attorney will help ensure that your visual evidence is properly preserved and documented. This can be crucial if the other party disputes liability or attempts to destroy evidence.
- Consult with experts as needed: In complex cases, your attorney may collaborate with accident reconstruction experts who can analyze your photo and video evidence to provide a professional assessment.
- Negotiate with insurance companies: Attorneys can skillfully negotiate with insurance companies and present your evidence to leverage and support your claim.
- Provide representation in court: If your case goes to court, your attorney can present your visual evidence effectively to a judge and jury, helping to establish your claim’s legitimacy.
What if I Am Not Able To Collect Evidence at the Crash Scene?
While immediate visual evidence is ideal, it is not always possible for crash victims to gather evidence at the scene. This is especially true when severe injuries occur.
If you are working with an attorney, he or she can collect images on your behalf or work to collect visual evidence after the accident and once your injuries have stabilized.
Images You Should Try to Capture
- Photograph your injuries: Capture them on day one and then progressively as they heal. You should also capture your injuries at all your follow-up medical appointments, which you should be diligent not to miss.
- Property damage: At the crash scene, try to capture the damage to your vehicle and the other driver’s vehicle as well. It is probably easiest to video all around each vehicle with your smartphone. Additionally, capture it progressively as it is being repaired or assessed by a mechanic. These photos can help establish the extent of the damage.
- Revisit the Scene: If possible, return to the accident scene with your attorney to capture any relevant details or changes in the area you might have missed after the crash.
What you should never do is put yourself or anyone else in harm’s way to capture photo or video evidence. If it is not safe to get out of the car, just take the images or videos you can capture from inside your vehicle.
Injured in a Crash? Our Law Firm Is Ready to Help
When pursuing a personal injury claim after a car crash in South Bend, visual evidence in the form of photos and videos can significantly help to strengthen your claim.
To optimize your ability to recover the maximum possible compensation, we recommend seeking legal help. At Pfeifer, Morgan & Stesiak, we have the resources and staff to get the results you need.
Call today to discuss your situation and learn about potential legal options. There are no upfront costs or fees when you hire our services. We only get paid if you do.
Millions Recovered. Call to request a FREE case review. (844)-678-1800