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How to use Your Smartphone to Document an Auto Accident


Car accident scene documentation with a smartphone has really made it easy to obtain evidence that can be used later to prove legal liability and other issues. As an auto accident lawyer who has handled thousands of injury claims over the past 20 years, I can remember the days of trying to take photographs of vehicle damage in a tow yard after the fact. Now, all this type of physical accident scene evidence can be documented “on the spot” with that little device most of us carry around in our pockets, the “smartphone”.

Top Five Ways to Use Your Smartphone After a Car Crash
  1. Photograph Property Damage: The two, major issues of contention in auto accident claims are usually: (a) who is legally at fault for the incident; and (b) was the impact significant enough to cause bodily harm. Both of these hinge, in large part on the physical damage to the vehicles. For example, if there is clear damage to the rear of a car and the front of the car behind them, this would be indication of a rear end collision. If the damage is not extremely evident on the rear of the front car but, the whole front end and hood is demolished on the rear car, this could indicate a high level of impact. For these reasons, it is important to take digital photographs with your phone of all vehicles involved in the collision and from multiple angles and straight on and from close up and further away. If the air bags deployed, this should also be documented by taking photos of the deployed bag(s).
  2. Photograph of the License, Registration and Proof of Insurance: Let’s face it, when you are involved in an auto accident, it is a very traumatic event. Rather than relying upon simply writing down a driver’s license number, insurance company name, insurance company policy number and phone number and the registration information and take the risk of “shaky nerves” causing you to make a mistake, simply take a photo. Lay each item down separately or together if they will fit in the shot. Do this on a flat surface like a hood or car seat and make sure your phone focuses in and clearly shows all information in a legible manner. This will also give you the added benefit of having a photograph of the person who hit you by way of their driver’s license.
  3. Take Photos of the Accident Scene: The placement of the vehicles when they ultimately came to rest and the evidence of skid marks on the road, can play a big role in reconstructing what happened at a later date. Taking photos of the debris and where it rests in relation to the wrecked vehicles can also be helpful. If you have time, you may also want to photograph the signs and signals from the vantage point of where you were just prior to the crash (For example: If you were facing a traffic light or street signs that directed the flow of traffic and another vehicle violated these rules).
  4. Take a Video of Witnesses Willing to Provide a Statement at the Scene: If you need verification of something like a blown stop sign or someone running a red light, third party witnesses like nearby motorists or pedestrians who saw what happened leading up to impact and following can be very helpful later. While some people may feel uncomfortable going “on record”, many more are willing to help someone in need. In the video, you should ask for the persons full name (spelled out), address and best phone number to contact them later in addition to asking them what they saw, heard or observed.
  5. Taking Pictures of Injuries: Bodily harm that is immediately apparent such as cuts, scrapes, bruises, lacerations should be photographed. You should also take pictures of the wounds as they heal over time.
Providing Smartphone Documentation to a Personal Injury Lawyer

Once you have obtained photos, video, or other information from the scene of the auto crash, it is important to provide this to an attorney as soon as possible if you intend to seek compensation for personal injuries. Why? First, the lawyer will preserve this evidence and do a digital back up. Second, the lawyer will review the evidence and decide if all or part of the evidence may be used in the prosecution of the accident claim. Finally, the attorney can provide this type of physical evidence to experts such as accident reconstructionists, biomechanical experts and medical experts and they may be able to use this as a part of the basis for any opinion regarding liability or causation of injuries. No one ever wants to be involved in an accident and documenting the scene is not the highest priority but, it can provide crucial evidence and with the advent of modern technology, has become easier than ever to do so, why not do it if at all possible!

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I have known Steven for some time now and when his services were required he jumped in and took control of my cases. I had two and they were handled with the utmost professionalism and courtesy. He went the extra mile regardless of the bumps in the road. I can not see me using any other attorney and I would recommend him to any of my family and friends. Josie A.
Steven was vital during our most trying time. He was referred by a friend after an accident that involved a family member. While he was critical and lying in the hospital, Steven was kind, patient and knowledgeable about what we were going through. Following our loss, Steven became a tough and aggressive negotiator and made sure that we receive a huge compensation. I would refer Steven in fact, this happened 2 years ago and I still speak highly of his service. Cheryl S.
Mr. Sweat is a pitbull in the courtroom as well as settlement negotiations - You can't have a better equipped attorney in your corner! It is a pleasure working as colleagues together on numerous cases. He can get the job done. Jonathan K.
Because of Steven Sweat, my medical support was taken care of. Plus, I had more money to spare for my other bills. Steven is not only an excellent personal injury lawyer, providing the best legal advice, but also a professional lawyer who goes beyond his call of duty just to help his clients! He stood up for me and helped me get through the process. I would definitely recommend. I couldn't think of any better lawyer than him. MiraJane C.
I must tell anyone, if you need a great attorney, Steve sweat is the guy! I had an awful car accident and had no idea where to turn. He had so much to deal with because my accident was a 4 car pile up. Not to mention all the other cars were behind me and they were not wanting to settle in any way! He never stopped working for me and had my best interest at heart! Audra W.
I believe I made the best choice with Steven M Sweat, Personal Injury. I was very reluctant to go forward with my personal injury claim. I had a valid claim and I needed a professional attorney to handle it. I felt so much better when I let Steven take my case. His team did everything right and I am very satisfied. Stia P.
I have to say that Steve has been exemplary! I met Steve at a point with my case that I was ready to give up. He took the time and dealt with all of my concerns. Most importantly, he was present and listened to what I was going through. He was able to turn things around, put me and my case on the right track! The results were better that expected! Highly recommend!! Cody A.