Cruising between avenues in New York City, you're about to make a right on the intersection. Out of nowhere, a black Pontiac Grand Am smacks into the side of your car. What happens now? Of course, you maintain calm and composition as best you can, checking for injuries to yourself and the other driver. Calling the police for documentation taking and pulling out the Accident Scene Information Checklist from your glove compartment should be done as well. However, documentation and police reports for car insurance claims may fail to paint a true picture of the damaged caused. For this reason, it is important to take accident photographs.
With the flood of camera phones and digital cameras in the market, carrying a disposable in your glove compartment should not be too much trouble. Use the camera to take pictures of the accident scene with special attention to angles and distances. Once you hop out of the damaged car, take pictures from different angles. If sunlight throws a glare atop your car and obstructs the camera, move position and capture the damage from multiple angles. One rule of the trade is to take pictures from three different angles and distances. All close up shots should be taken in the 3 – 5 feet range, with the next distance 10 to 15 feet away. Do not forget to take a picture from 20-40 feet away to capture the entire accident scene as well. If possible, keep a landmark visible in all of the photos – that is, something in the surrounding area as part of every picture to keep continuity.
If you're using a film camera and its running low on film, be sure to take even better pictures. Each picture should provide a glimpse into what happened and capture the surrounding environment along with the condition of your vehicle. Digital cameras are strategic in that you have the ability to review photographs and delete undesirable ones. If its bad, erase and take a shot from another angle and distance.
Your vehicle is not the star of the show here! It is also a good idea to take pictures of the car that hit you. Take pictures of both cars in their damaged position (with landmark intact) If the accident was your fault, this is critical. Picture proof helps drivers protect themselves in the event the other driver tries to claim more damages were caused.
It is also smart to take a few pictures of the road or intersection where the accident occurred. Besides refreshing your memory, it tells the auto insurance agents how the accident happened. Take pictures of street names, traffic signs, and the cars under these landmarks in case you need evidence in court. Snap pictures of skid marks as well. If your digital camera is not strong enough, blow up the photos later on. If there are no skid marks on the ground, it can prove the other person responsible was not paying enough attention to brake!
Finally, take some snapshots of all bodily injuries, including bruises, cuts, marks to the face, and more. Capture them from the appropriate angle or distance for the full effect. All of the pictures described above will help expedite your auto insurance claim. Insurance companies are so enamored with pictures, many of them send disposable camera free of charge for their policyholders to use.
In a Nutshell:
* → Keep a digital camera in your car. Either that or leave a cheap disposable camera in your glove compartment!
* → Take pictures from three different angles and distances: 3-5 feet, 10-15 feet, and 20-40 feet (accident scene & surrounding area)
* → Snap pictures of all vehicles involved
* → Snap pictures of the road / intersection along with street and traffic signs
* → Pay attention to skid marks! This is valid proof the opposing driver failed to pay enough attention to brake