COLORADO SPRINGS PERSONAL INJURY CLAIMS
When you are involved in a car accident, you deserve to get fair compensation for your injuries. Taking accident scene photos can get you moving in the right direction. They show how the accident happened, how the accident occurred, and vehicles involved, and sometimes even how the at fault driver failed to drive their vehicle in a safe manner.
A successful personal injury claim necessitates the use of photos and video. Photographs taken on the scene may help you increase your total compensation. This article takes a look at how to take photos of a car accident scene. Car accident photos also show how significant the damage was and how your injuries happened.
Accidents happen every day, from little fender-benders in the parking lot to catastrophic multi-car catastrophes. Most of us will be involved in three to four car accidents over our lives. Every year, millions of individuals are injured in car accidents on U.S. roadways, costing more than $242 billion. Insurance companies pay out the majority of those billions of dollars.
The truth is that insurance companies don’t pay out a lot of money on claims that aren’t very strong. Photographs taken at the site of an car accident are strong evidence that may help you receive the most money possible. Accident scene photos are exceptionally useful when making a personal injury claim. Your personal injury attorney will be very thankful. Our law firm specializes in car accidents.
HOW TO TAKE EXCELLENT CAR ACCIDENT PHOTOGRAPHS
After an accident, the first thing you should do is dial 911 for assistance. If you or anybody else is harmed, or if there are any risks at the site, such as leaking gasoline or flipped automobiles, or if there are traffic difficulties, call 911.
Take as many photographs as you can before police and paramedics come if you can move about securely. To gather crucial proof of carelessness and causation, you’ll need to act promptly. This is your only chance to photograph the scene as it was at the moment of the crash.
THAT BEING SAID, DON’T PUT YOUR HEALTH OR SAFETY IN DANGER ONLY TO SHOOT IMAGES. ADDING TO YOUR CURRENT INJURIES OR SUSTAINING NEW ONES WILL NOT AID YOUR CLAIM.
TAKE A PHOTO OF THE WHOLE ACCIDENT SCENE
Use the video feature or a series of still images as you slowly spin to capture the complete scene. Then begin capturing as many individual photos as possible from various perspectives. Don’t pause to look at the pictures; simply keep clicking. You barely have a few minutes left.
Car accident sites are often cleared by police shortly after they arrive to ensure the safety of individuals involved and allow traffic to flow smoothly again.
The more photos you take of the scene and its surroundings, the more likely it is that at least a few of them will be beneficial. Professional photographers shoot hundreds of images on significant occasions hoping that just a few would be flawless.
PHOTOGRAPH THE AUTOMOBILES
Take pictures of the automobiles that were involved in the collision.
Take pictures of their closeness to the actual accident scene as well as each other. Include enough images to show their whereabouts at the moment of the collision.
OBTAIN CLOSE-UPS OF THE DAMAGE TO YOUR CAR.
If your car’s bumper is damaged or the back quarter panel is dented, take a picture of it. Frame the images to include the licence plate, if possible, to ensure it’s your car that’s been damaged.
PHOTOGRAPH THE DAMAGE TO THE OTHER DRIVER’S CAR.
Photographs of car accidents should be as comprehensive as possible. Include any paint from your car that was transferred during the collision. To identify the other driver’s car, take a photo of the licence plate.
LOOK FOR SHATTERED GLASS AND CAR COMPONENTS THAT HAVE BEEN DAMAGED.
Examine the area for any debris that may have fallen from the automobiles during the collision. To identify which automobiles the shattered glass and components originated from, take shots from both close and broad viewpoints.
IMPORTANT LOCATION FACTORS SHOULD BE CAPTURED
TAKE PICTURES OF TRAFFIC SIGNS
Include traffic signals and yield or stop signs, which may be linked to the behaviour of the at-fault motorist that resulted in the collision.
INCLUDE A LIST OF REFERENCES
If the at-fault car fails to yield, attempt to photograph their car with the yield sign as a background. The same might be said for a motorist who ignores a stop sign or other traffic signal. Include images of street signs that indicate the location of the accident.
TAKE PICTURES OF THE WEATHER AND ROAD CONDITIONS
Include any clouds, rain, or snow that is falling. Take pictures of the sun and its location on the horizon or a clear night sky with a beautiful moon. These images refute the claim that the accident was caused by meteorological conditions such as ice or fog.
Take pictures of broken items. Look for street signs, guardrails, trees, and other stationery items that the impact has harmed.
KEEP AN EYE OUT FOR SKID MARKS
A careless motorist would often attempt to avert an accident by slamming on the brakes just before the collision. The length and breadth of skid marks are strong indicators. Consider both close-up and long-range perspectives. Try to depict the car’s direction of travel and where it was when it began braking.
INCLUDE IMAGES THAT SHOW THE ACCIDENT’S TIME AND DATE
Make use of your camera’s time and data capabilities. You may also snap a photo of someone else’s phone’s screen, which shows the time and date. Ascertain that the accident site is included in the photograph.
TAKE PICTURES OF THE PEOPLE WHO WERE THERE AT THE TIME OF THE INCIDENT.
Photograph and videotape the other motorist and his or her passengers. Photographs and video may be persuasive proof of drunkenness, and if your film includes sound, it can record confessions of guilt.
Photograph or videotape any witnesses. Try gathering witness photographs as well if you get permission. Some witnesses may choose to record rather than write down their statements. It’s easier to correlate faces with remarks if you have a visual record of the persons on the scene.
Take pictures of first responders. Photograph police officers, firefighters, fire vehicles, and emergency medical personnel. Take a picture of someone who was placed on a gurney and placed into an ambulance.
Take pictures of any injuries. After the accident, take photographs of your injuries and save them as a record of your rehabilitation.
AFTER THE CRASH, HOW TO PROTECT YOUR CLAIM
GET MEDICAL HELP RIGHT AWAY
If you weren’t sent to the hospital right away after the accident, you should seek medical help as soon as possible.
Your claim will be severely harmed if medical care is delayed. The insurance company will seize the opportunity to dismiss your claim by claiming that the collision did not cause your injuries.
You may see your doctor or go to an emergency department or urgent care facility at a hospital. Inform the doctor that you were involved in an car accident and detail any symptoms you’re having, no matter how minor. Your injuries will be linked to the accident in your treatment record and doctor’s report.
CONTINUE PHOTOGRAPHING YOUR INJURIES
Throughout your treatment and rehabilitation, keep taking images of your injuries. Stitches, bruises, swelling, or images of you in a hospital bed may be highly persuasive.
If you have excellent photographic proof of graphic injuries, the insurance company will not want such photos to turn up in court. You’ll be in a far better position to negotiate a reasonable payment if you have injury images.
WHY ARE PHOTOGRAPHS OF ACCIDENT SCENES IMPORTANT?
After the collision, police officers may snap a few images, but only after they’ve secured the site, provided emergency treatment, and spoken with the drivers. In congested urban locations, police officers are only allowed to snap photographs at an accident site if there are deaths.
If you’re physically capable, it’s up to you to obtain proof to back up your claim.
Photographs and videos shot shortly after your accident might help your claim gain credibility and financial worth. They may also assist you in establishing the other driver’s culpability for your losses.
Photographs of the accident site may support your claim by:
Telling the tale of how the event occurred
Providing visual evidence of property damage and bodily injuries
Assisting in the recall of memories that may be used to recreate the accident site
Auto accident victims sometimes forget critical data due to the emotional nature of the event. Well-taken photographs show both apparent and subtle evidence that may have been overlooked, which may help bolster a personal injury claim.
Depending on the photographs you took at the scene, it may be worthwhile for you or a trusted friend or family member to return to the area with a decent quality camera. Photograph the area once again, making sure to capture the same street signs, broken items, and any other evidence that remains.
MAKE THE INSURANCE ADJUSTER PAY ATTENTION TO YOU
You are using high-quality car accident images, as well as the police report and other types of documentation, to convince the claims adjuster that you’re competent and motivated.
Organize all of your evidence, including accident images, to help you make a convincing case. Your efforts will help to enhance your claim, which will result in a better settlement offer.
Following an car accident, it’s usual for both drivers to blame the other for the collision. The insurance company for the other motorist won’t pay you a thing unless you can prove their insured was at fault.
Photos of the accident site may help establish the other driver’s guilt by demonstrating that the motorist did improperly or failed to drive safely.
It’s difficult to argue with images or video, regardless of what the other motorist claims. Images are notoriously difficult to decipher. Even if the other car occupants subsequently modify their account, they depict the accident scene as it was.
OBTAIN ASSISTANCE WITH SERIOUS INJURY CLAIMS
Car accident injuries that are severe or permanent result in high-dollar insurance claims. You have much too much to lose if you attempt to fight the insurance company on your own if you’ve been seriously injured or have lasting scars.
A professional personal injury lawyer understands how to negotiate with the insurance company, the other driver’s attorney, and the courts to ensure that you get the maximum compensation you are entitled to.
Free consultations are available from car accident lawyers, so there is no expense to discover what a skilled attorney can do for you.
DETERMINING WHO IS AT FAULT FOR A CAR ACCIDENT
After a car collision, insurance adjusters determine who is to blame. However, in your case, the police report or a jury’s verdict may be the most important documents.
After a car accident, proving who was at fault may make or break your claim, particularly if the adjuster points the finger at you.
When you have suffered serious injuries, you may not be able to file a legitimate insurance claim without evidence of the other driver’s negligence. Anyone who causes an accident is responsible for compensating the other party’s losses.
You should be aware that the insurance adjuster does not have the final say in determining blame. You have alternatives to assist assure a favourable outcome.
WHAT FACTORS DO INSURANCE COMPANIES USE TO DETERMINE FAULT?
After a car collision, each motorist should contact their auto insurance provider to report the incident. You must first seek compensation under your own insurance policy’s Personal Injury Protection (PIP) coverage in certain no-fault insurance states.
In most jurisdictions, you’ll file your injury and property damage claims with the at-fault driver’s insurance carrier if the other driver’s carelessness caused the collision. A claims adjuster will be appointed, and their task will be to determine blame on their own.
Separate adjusters often handle the property damage and personal injury portions of the claim.
The insurance adjuster assesses guilt by looking at the following factors:
The accident report of the responding officer
Statements of witnesses, photographs, and any accessible evidence
Often, a single individual determines whether or not your claim will be paid by the insurance company, as well as the amount. This is true for both first-party and third-party claims against your own insurance company and the at-fault driver’s insurance company.
Your remarks are nearly always documented while conversing with the adjuster. The adjuster may use whatever you say against you, and they often base their judgement on an unplanned chat. Keep this in mind, and be cautious about what you say to anybody who phones you after an accident.
Every year, insurance companies pay out millions of dollars in car accident settlements, but no money is handed out until each claimant can show that the insured is at fault.
If you’ve been hurt in a car accident and want to handle your claim, you’ll need to show culpability before the other driver’s insurance company will talk about payment.
The other motorist owed you a duty of care, which meant they had a responsibility to avoid colliding with you.
The other motorist was negligent, which means they did something improper or did not do what any normal driver would do in the same situation.
The other driver’s carelessness caused your damages directly, which means you would not have suffered physical injuries or car damage if it weren’t for their acts.
Your property and personal harm damages are genuine and provable.
Companies that provide insurance Use state laws as a guide.
To assess accident responsibility, most large insurance firms rely on state legislation. They will accept your claim if the evidence is that their insured breached a traffic rule, such as texting while driving or following too closely.
Those traffic regulations, on the other hand, may operate both ways. The insurance company will constantly hunt for grounds to hold you responsible for the events that led to the accident.
Did the texting motorist, for example, impact you because you ran a stop sign? Were you involved in a rear-end incident because your taillights failed? Any traffic infraction will work against you when it comes to making a claim.
WHEN THEY BLAME YOU, FIGHT BACK
If you share any guilt for the accident, your insurance company will refuse or minimize your claim.
Share even 1% of the responsibility for the accident in Alabama, Maryland, North Carolina, Virginia, or the District of Columbia. The insurance adjuster will apply the pure contributory fault rule to reject your claim.
Modified comparative fault laws apply in most jurisdictions, which means the insurance company can’t refuse your claim unless you were equally (50%) or more (51%) at fault than their insured. They may, however, lower your payments by your part of the blame.
The insurance company for the at-fault motorist does not have the final say on your share of the responsibility. You might dispute their account of the accident or their interpretation of state law.
Be wary of nefarious adjusters.
It won’t be long after the collision before all parties’ insurance adjusters attempt to get everyone’s statement. They may seem interested and helpful on the phone, but their primary priority is the insurance company’s bottom line. They seek to settle your claim for as little money as possible.
Take wary who you speak with. Adjusters will ask you frequently loaded questions to force you to make comments that might jeopardize your claim later. Almost all of these phone calls are taped. Allowing an adjuster to coerce you into accepting joint responsibility for your injuries is never a good idea.
The safest course of action when dealing with the other party’s insurance is to avoid speaking with them at all. To talk with the adjuster on your behalf, contact an experienced car accident attorney. The majority of lawyers provide a free consultation. When the insurance company attempts to reject or lessen your claim, it is wise to seek legal counsel.
Reduced Motorcycle Accident Compensation, as an example
On a sweltering July day, James was riding his motorbike home from work. James opted to leave his helmet fastened to the rear of his bike and enjoy the wind in his hair since he was just driving on back roads to get home.
James was less than a mile from his house when a pickup car from a supermarket parking lot abruptly drove out in front of him. James’s motorbike smacked into the side of the car because he couldn’t avoid it.
The incident left James with serious head and face injuries, and his motorbike was totalled.
The at-fault driver’s insurance company paid James’s property damage claim. Still, his injury claim was refused by the at-fault driver’s insurance company, which claimed James was accountable for his injuries since he wasn’t wearing a helmet as required by law.
James’s lawyer filed a lawsuit on his behalf, demanding $100,000 in damages for his injuries. James would not have been wounded at all if the other motorist had not pulled out onto the road, according to his counsel.
James’s injuries were determined to be the fault of the other motorist by the jury. They also ruled that he might not have been harmed as badly; hence, he was 20% culpable for his injuries.
The jury awarded James $80,000 for his injuries under modified comparative fault guidelines, a 20% decrease from his original $100,000 claim to account for his share of the blame.
HOW DO COPS DETERMINE WHO IS AT FAULT IN A CAR ACCIDENT?
The officer who rushes to the scene makes a crucial decision on who is responsible for the car accident. It might be a municipal police officer, a sheriff’s deputy, or a state highway patrol officer.
If there are no injuries and the situation is not hazardous or hindering traffic, law enforcement will not react to every collision. Regardless, it’s in your best interest to report every collision to 911.
When consumers fail to contact law enforcement after an accident, their claim is often harmed. A key piece of evidence is the police accident report. The officer’s conclusion of who caused the accident is summarised in the report, including all pertinent facts.
Law enforcement officials are neutral and trustworthy investigators who have received special training in car accident investigations. Insurance companies and juries heavily weigh the officer’s assessment of guilt.
Don’t be fooled by the other driver’s advice to “manage it” without the help of the police or insurance. People who seemed agreeable at the time of the incident often alter their thoughts after you’ve departed.
AT THE ACCIDENT SCENE: LAW ENFORCEMENT
Assume an accident has occurred, someone has called 911, and an officer has arrived. After examining the scene and checking for injuries, the police normally examine the drivers involved, followed by passengers and any surviving witnesses.
The investigating officer will examine skid marks, car damage, the site of contact, and other evidence to determine how the incident happened.
A team of trained police may examine accidents that result in deaths.
What impact does the responding officer have on a claim’s liability?
The officer will issue a ticket if any of the drivers break any traffic regulations.
If the evidence allows, the officer will determine who was responsible for the collision on their own.
Within a week to ten days, the police crash report should be ready. A preliminary report may be revised to reflect changes in a driver’s Blood Alcohol Levels (BAC) or drug testing findings obtained from hospital or post-mortem samples.
COLLECT YOUR PROOF
While it’s critical to consult law enforcement and file a formal report, don’t depend only on them or the report. Collect your proof if you are able.
You may be able to do the following at the accident scene:
Take images with your phone
Speak with witnesses and get contact information from them.
Make comprehensive notes regarding the accident;
Obtain the name and contact information of the other motorist.
Accident victims often encounter witnesses who corroborate their storey, but such witnesses are not included in the officer’s accident report. There’s no way to find witnesses after an accident unless they’re included in the crash report or are directly known to the accident victim.
A witness may assist you to establish the other motorist is lying, for example, if both drivers claim they had a green light.
AFTER A LAWSUIT IS FILED, WHO DECIDES WHO IS AT FAULT?
If you’ve reached the stage of initiating a lawsuit, it indicates you and the insurance adjuster disagree on one or more of the following points:
Who is to blame for the accident?
What is the value of your claim?
Your only option may be to file a personal injury lawsuit if you and the adjuster are just too far off on the settlement amount or fundamentally disagree on who is to blame for the accident.
WHAT HAPPENS AFTER A LAWSUIT IS FILED?
The at-fault motorist, not their insurance company, must be sued in a car collision.
If you file a lawsuit, the other driver’s insurance company will engage an attorney to defend its insured. Their lawyer will begin with the identical evidence that the adjuster acquired (the accident report, pictures, recorded statements, etc.).
The attorney will not want to step in and argue the adjuster’s liability finding. They are, after all, teammates. However, calling in an attorney by the insurance company might occasionally work in your favour as a claimant.
A new pair of eyes might provide their decision-making process with a new perspective. The defence counsel will advise the adjuster on the strength of your case and if they would be better off settling your claim.
LAWSUITS MAY ASSIST IN THE “DISCOVERY” OF MORE EVIDENCE
Existing blame findings (the police accident report and the adjuster’s pre-suit decision) hold a lot of weight in a lawsuit, at least at first. However, other procedures inside the legal process might supply more evidence and perhaps influence the conclusion.
“Discovery” starts with all parties in the litigation answering a series of written questions under oath. Official demands are also involved for records and other evidence that may not have been available before the lawsuit, such as the other driver’s history of traffic tickets or other offences.
The counsel for the opposite side will then “depose” both the plaintiff and defendant.
During a deposition, the attorney will ask a series of questions that will be answered under oath. These questions may cover a wide range of topics, including your history, interests, how the event occurred, your injuries, and everything in between.
Everyone should know all there is to know about the accident at this time. Isn’t it true that they should be able to reach a decision or agree on the matter, particularly when it comes to liability? Maybe. When there is still a dispute, the only choice is to go to trial.
THE CONSEQUENCES OF A JURY TRIAL
Before a trial, more than nine out of ten personal injury lawsuits are settled out of court. A trial entails taking the decision out of your hands, as well as the hands of police enforcement, the adjuster, lawyers, and anybody else involved in the case up to this point, and placing it in the hands of a jury of 6 to 12 strangers.
The law restricts what may be given to a jury during a trial, in addition to being total strangers who come into the trial knowing nothing about your case. Almost none of the persons engaged in the case so far can be heard, much less evaluated by a jury, believe it or not.
The accident report itself, as well as any remarks made to the officer as part of their inquiry, are not admissible at trial in several jurisdictions. That implies a jury may not be able to hear or see any of the officer’s actions.
Instead, a jury is often restricted to witness evidence, pictures, and documents that may be “authenticated” and presented to the jury as part of its verdict.
This entails a calculated risk on the part of the claimant. You’re putting the judgement of who was to blame for the accident in the hands of a jury, which may be restricted in what they can examine in reaching this conclusion.
Every seasoned trial lawyer would agree on one thing: they’ve won cases they never expected to win, and lost trials they never expected to lose. It’s the harsh reality of presenting your case before a jury.