If you are involved in a motor vehicle accident or are the victim of malpractice, abuse or a fall in a hospital, nursing home, assisted living facility or store, it is important that you document the scene of the accident, your injuries and property damage by immediately taking photographs or videos. In a motor vehicle accident, this will include the scene of the accident, skid marks or the lack of skid marks, general condition of the roadway, your injuries and property damage to your vehicle and the other vehicles involved. In a hospital, nursing home, assisted living facility or store, photographs and videos of the scene and your injuries will show how the area where you were injured looked at the time of the incident and how you looked after being injured.
After accidents, those who caused the accident often take what attorneys refer to as “subsequent remedial measures.” This means that the motor vehicles are destroyed or repaired before the damages are documented or that the hospital, nursing home, assisted living facility or store where the abuse or fall occurred “fixes” the dangerous condition. This is why immediate documentation of the scene is critical.
If you have retained an attorney to represent you, he or she should have a photographer or videographer at the ready to document the scene, your medical condition and property damage.
If you have not retained an attorney, you can take the photographs or videos yourself or have a friend or family member do it for you if your medical condition does not allow you to. However, be careful when documenting your case. You do not want to be accused of violating any laws, e.g., trespassing, when documenting the case. This is why your attorney is the best choice for taking these steps since he or she knows the proper steps to follow.
A good quality digital or film camera or camcorder should suffice in most cases. Some people purchase disposable cameras or borrow a friend’s video camera to document the scene. Do not be worried about the “home made” nature of the photographs or video. Juries often prefer the “home made” over what they perceive as “slick” professional photographs or videos. A professional photographer or an experienced staff member of a law firm knowledgeable in what to look for is preferred, however, it is important that the scene be promptly documented even if it means that some photographs or video are shot immediately by an amateur.