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Photos speak louder than words: document a car accident with pictures

Written by Ankin Law Office

In 2013, 988 people were killed in 892 motor vehicle accidents in Illinois. In 2012, the national figure reached 33,561 fatalities and 2,362,000 injuries as reported by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.  With the incredibly high prevalence of these accidents, every car crash lawyer knows that nearly every individual in the U.S. is statistically likely to be involved in a motor vehicle accident at least one time in their lives. Knowing this, motorists should be prepared and know what to do if an accident occurs. Chief on the list, other than providing initial medical attention to those in need, is documenting everything. One of the most accurate, fastest and most reliable forms of documentation is the photograph.

What is important?

When at the scene of a car accident, most drivers are unaware of what exactly is important and should be mentioned to an attorney, and what is not necessary or helpful. The answer is simple and easy to remember: everything is important. Accident attorneys need to know everything about an accident site without ever having been there and sometimes without even seeing the damaged vehicles.

Unless an accident victim is also an attorney, they likely do not immediately know what is important and what is not. Even attorneys may miss something if they are selective in their photographs, so it is essential that parties take as many photos as possible. Crash victims can help create a more accurate view of the scene with a greater number of photographs, and with digital cameras and cell phones, there are no extra costs associated with taking extra photos. Taking a thorough set of pictures to ensure that nothing was missed is the smart thing to do.


While everything is important and should be documented, there are a few areas on which motorists should focus. Any areas of obvious damage on all vehicles should be completely photographed. Motorists should include photos of each corner of the vehicles as well as the four faces. Close up photographs of damage, set next to something like a ruler or penny for scale, can help shed light on an accident as well. Other important specifics that should be photographed include vehicle license plates and interior damage to the vehicles.

Vehicle positions

One of the most vital photographs a victim can take is the position of the vehicles immediately following the crash. If able, motorists should always take these photos including landmarks, street lights, signs or any other feature that would help investigators understand the location of the vehicles when they came to rest. If the accident was severe enough to warrant it, photos of debris, vehicle parts and skid marks can also help recreate the scene.

Following an accident, injured parties should seek the counsel of an Illinois personal injury attorney. With an attorney’s help, accident victims can receive compensation for their medical bills, pain and suffering, time away from work and lost time with family.

Categories: Auto Accidents