Motor vehicle accidents can be chaotic and overwhelming, but documenting the scene thoroughly is important for insurance claims and investigations.
Knowing what to photograph can make a significant difference in the aftermath.
Overall scene shots
Try to get some shots of the overall scene of the accident first. These photos provide an overview and establish the context of the incident. Include street signs, traffic signals and any relevant landmarks to help recreate the scenario accurately.
Vehicle damage close-ups
Next, move in closer to capture detailed shots of the damage sustained by each vehicle involved. Focus on different angles and sides of the cars, trucks or motorcycles. Photograph any debris scattered around as well.
License plates and vehicle identification numbers
Document the license plates of all vehicles involved. Then, capture clear shots of the VINs, which are usually located on the dashboard or driver’s side door frame.
Skid marks and road conditions
Photograph any skid marks on the road surface. They can help to determine the speed and direction of the vehicles involved. Also, document the general condition of the road, including potholes, construction zones or any other factors that might have contributed to the accident.
Injuries and emergency response
The year 2022 saw 42,939 fatalities as a result of motor vehicle accidents, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation. This does not include all those injured in an accident. While respecting privacy and sensitivity, document any visible injuries sustained by individuals involved in the accident. In addition, capture shots of emergency response vehicles, paramedics and police officers at the scene.
Witnesses and statements
Photograph any witnesses present at the scene. Capturing potential witnesses can aid investigators in locating and interviewing them later.
A well-documented series of photographs can be invaluable in understanding the dynamics of a motor vehicle accident.