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How to Properly Photograph an Accident

No one is ever prepared to be in an accident, and it can be really hard to know what to do in those situations. Oftentimes just prior to the accident, people have something else on their mind that they were planning on doing that day, only for it to be suddenly disrupted by an unfortunate event. Even worse is when the accident results in serious injury, which adds another layer of anxiety because of long term pain and financial heartache.

If a person is injured in an accident and it is not their fault, hopefully they are aware that the financial burden of the injury can be compensated. Whether it is a car accident, a trip and fall, or a work related injury, correctly documenting the accident can make a huge difference in being able to gain financial compensation for the injury. Two very important ways of documenting the accident is obtaining an accident report and seeking medical attention right away. This is not only good for your health and safety, but it also logs the event that caused the injury. A third crucial way to document an accident is by taking photographs. We now live in a day and age where everyone has a camera on them at all times, so photographing the scene of the accident, as well as the injuries ensued provides substantial evidence to build a case against the person who caused the injury. Here are some helpful tips in what kind of photographs are helpful in a personal injury case.

The Scene of the Accident

Documenting the scene of the accident is very important, because having photographic evidence on the day that the accident occurred provides the most accurate depiction of the circumstances surrounding the accident. There is no shortage of pictures you can take, so try to take pictures at multiple angles. If it is a car accident, take multiple pictures of the damage to the car from different distances so it can be clear how the car was struck. Get a picture of all the vehicles involved to get a better idea of the relative positions and proximities of the cars.

If it was a slip and fall or trip and fall, do the same thing but for the area or object that caused the fall. Additionally, try to get a clearly visible object or landmark in one of the pictures at the scene of the accident to clearly identify where this was held (for example, a street sign or a business).

The Injury

If you were injured from the accident, you should also take photos of your own injury. You should not only take pictures soon after the accident, but also as it recovers. If you have recovered from the injury but still have lasting scars, photograph them as well. Again, multiple perspectives are important to grasp the scale of the injury. Super close-up shots are important, but they should not be the only photos. Get a picture up close, and take a similar one zoomed out. Make sure your whole body, including your face, is in some of the photos. All of these things will give an accurate depiction of the injury.


Another very important part of photographing an accident is the time it took place. From a technical standpoint, every smartphone nowadays records the time that a picture is taken without a person realizing it. This is called “metadata” and gives the photo file information about how the picture was taken. While this information can technically be extracted and used to prove the time the photo was taken, it is still better if possible to date the photo yourself. Some ways you can do this are by taking a picture of the newspaper that day at the scene of the accident, or even a picture of someone else’s smartphone with the calendar date on display.


Along with photos, a good way to give perspective to the scene of the accident is taking a video. This should be in addition to but not in place of the photos you take. A slow 360 degree video of the scene along with closeups of the damage and a landmark nearby can be very helpful. Additionally, many drivers nowadays have a dash cam, it’s important that if you have a dash cam that you know how to use the SD card in the dash cam to be able to show or send the videos of the dash cam if needed. Here is an article on how to extract a video from a dash cam (SD card) and on to your PC

About the Author

Steven Palermo is the managing partner for Palermo Law, Long Island’s Personal Injury Law Firm. He has been helping people receive compensation for their injuries for over 21 years. He focuses on cases involving car accidents, truck accidents, construction accidents and slip and fall injuries.

His book The Ultimate Guide to Handling New York Car Accident Claims details the ins and outs of a car accident claim in a simple, easy-to-read manner.