by Claudine A. Cloutier
It may seem strange to see “Use Your Cell Phones” on an attorney’s blog when we repeatedly hear about the dangers of distracted driving due to cell phone use. There’s no doubt that using your phone to text or talk when you should be focusing on the road can distract you and lead to tragic consequences.
But another more positive impact that widespread use of cell phones has had on personal injury claims is that almost everyone is carrying around a camera —- all the time. More and more frequently an injured person or a witness has the abililty to photograph the accident scene immediately after the incident has occurred.
Since memories fade quickly and witnesses disappear, photographic evidence of the accident scene is invaluable in proving the circumstances leading to an accident.
Of course, even photographs can be misleading. For example, often details are missed or some changes have already occurred before the pictures are taken. An incorrect time or date stamp on a photograph can be disastrously misleading and may taint witnesses’ memories in a way that is inaccurate.
If you are ever in an accident or witness to an accident, ensure that your camera is accuratetly recording the date and time the photographs are taken. Capture as many angles as possible. If appropriate, take widerange photographs as well as close-ups. Try to include some landmark or object in several different photographs from various vantage points so that someone viewing the photographs can use that same object as a point of reference and understand the whole scene even years later.
Evidence may change or disappear quickly. Photographing the scene and consulting with an attorney soon after an injury will increase your ability to prove your case and receive just compensation for your injury.