Capturing Clarity: The Crucial Role of Photographs in Car Accident Cases

As an experienced personal injury attorney in the Cumberland region, I’ve seen countless car accident cases unfold, and I can’t emphasize enough the importance of taking photographs during and immediately after an accident. There have been instances where witnesses got paid thousands of dollars to share their photos as evidence resulting in tens of thousands of dollars in additional compensation for the victims. These images can be invaluable evidence that can make or break your case.

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In this blog, we’ll delve into the significance of capturing the scene, the vehicles, and injuries through photographs, as well as tips for effectively documenting an accident.

The Power of Visual Evidence

The most significant reason to pull out your phone at the scene of an accident, if you are able to, is to preserve the scene’s integrity. The aftermath of a car accident is often chaotic, with vehicles strewn across the road, debris scattered, and skid marks tracing the path of the collision. The first crucial step is to ensure everyone’s safety, but as soon as it’s safe to do so, start taking photographs. Why? Because the scene changes rapidly. Tire marks fade, debris gets cleared, and the weather can wash away crucial evidence. 

A car with a flat tire on the side of the road due to a car accident.
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Photographs preserve the scene’s integrity and can be a determining factor in the victim’s case. Read the full list of what to do after a car accident

Secondly, it is important to preserve the evidence of the vehicle(s) damage. Pictures of vehicle damage can provide a clear picture of the force and impact of the collision. Capture images of all angles of each vehicle involved, including close-ups of damaged areas. This documentation helps determine liability and can be crucial in assessing the extent of property damage.

Personal Story:

When my daughter was 16, she was involved in a minor fender bender. Luckily no one was injured during this incident, but there was damage done to all vehicles involved. Being the daughter of an experienced Crossville attorney, she knew who to call. I made sure that she took not only pictures but videos from every angle of each vehicle, the license plates, the people involved, and close-ups of specific damage. 

By taking photographs from multiple angles, you create a visual narrative of the accident. This can help accident reconstruction experts and attorneys understand how the collision occurred and who may be at fault. It’s like creating a puzzle with all the pieces in place.

Capturing Injuries and Emotional Impact

Burnett Law focuses on personal injury law and litigation. If there are injuries in a car accident, it is more important than ever to take photographs. It is crucial to document any visible injuries resulting from the accident. This includes cuts, bruises, burns, or any signs of physical harm. These photographs serve as vital medical evidence and can help prove the extent of your injuries, especially if they worsen over time. 

A Man Holding his Head In Front of an Injured Car

As an experienced Crossville personal injury attorney, I would prefer people take pictures of everything! This includes at the scene, in the ambulance, in the ER or exam room, or anywhere else that transpires post-accident.

If you receive immediate medical attention, photograph the injuries before receiving treatment. This provides a clear “before and after” comparison that can be beneficial in assessing the impact of medical intervention. Your phone is an amazing tool that I encourage you to utilize. 

Aside from injuries, car accidents can cause significant emotional distress. Photographs can capture the emotional aftermath, such as shock, anxiety, or visible distress. While not physical injuries, these emotions can be relevant in personal injury claims, particularly for pain and suffering damages. The bottom line is- you cannot have too many pictures in a personal injury case! 

Tips for Effective Documentation

The number #1 tip for someone in a car accident in Crossville is to document with your smartphone. To ensure effective documentation, follow these additional suggestions:

Tip #1 

Safety is first. Ensure your safety and the safety of others involved in the accident before proceeding to take photos or videos. If you are not in a safe condition to do so, wait for emergency responders to arrive or ask someone who is in a safe position to do so.

Tip #2 

Capture from different angles. Photograph the accident scene from various angles, including close-ups and wide shots. This helps provide context and a comprehensive view of the situation.

Tip #3

Time Stamps. Many smartphones automatically add time and date stamps to photos. Ensure this feature is enabled, as it can help establish when the photographs were taken. I was recently involved in a car accident case where the photos did not have a timestamp and the evidence was not admissible to use. This is at the discretion of the court, however, it is best practice to ensure time stamps are enabled on your phone for evidentiary purposes. 

Tip #4 

Photograph Identifying Information. Just as I told my daughter during her accident in Crossville, capture license plates, vehicle make and models, and any visible identifying information. This can be crucial for identifying the parties involved and their vehicles.

Tip #5 

Witnesses and Statements. If there are witnesses, ask for their contact information and request permission to photograph them for later identification. I also recommend taking a picture of their photo identification like a driver’s license or passport and their car insurance information. 

Tip #6 

Tip number six is to have consistency. Be consistent in photographing all vehicles involved, injuries, and the scene. The more comprehensive your documentation, the stronger your case becomes. As I said, there is not such thing as too much information when it comes to car accidents and personal injury matters.

Building a Strong Personal Injury Case

The evidence that photographs and videos provide from the scene and aftermath of a car accident is also crucial in order to build a strong personal injury case. When filing an insurance claim, having photographic evidence can expedite the process and provide clarity to insurance adjusters. Photographs can also help demonstrate who was at fault by capturing key elements of the accident.

And then there are during negotiations with the at-fault party or their insurance company. Photographs may provide compelling visual evidence that strengthens your position and leads to more favorable settlements. If your case goes to court, photographs can be persuasive evidence here as well. Judges and juries often find visual documentation digestible, compelling, and comprehensive.


Take it from the pros. In the aftermath of a car accident, the importance of taking photographs cannot be overstated. Visual evidence provides clarity, preserves crucial details, and can significantly impact the outcome of your personal injury case. Remember, safety is paramount, so only take photographs when it’s safe to do so. If you or someone else is unable to take pictures, ask witnesses or bystanders for assistance. The more comprehensive your photographic documentation, the stronger your case will be, ensuring you receive the compensation you deserve for your injuries and damages. If you are ever facing a car accident in Crossville, Cookeville, or surrounding Putnam cities, do not hesitate to call us at Burnett Law

We are the “empathy with experience” attorneys and fight to help you in your time of need.

Disclaimer: The information contained in this blog or on this website is provided for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as legal advice on any specific subject matter. No person should act or refrain from acting due to any content included in the site without seeking legal or other professional advice on the particular facts and circumstances at issue from an attorney licensed in the person’s state. The Firm expressly disclaims all liability in respect to actions taken or not taken based on any or all the contents of this blog or website.

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