Why is it important to take pictures in a car crash case? Well, there’s a bunch of reasons. You want to memorialize that information for later. You won’t remember exactly how the property damage was. You will be sure that the defendant’s insurance company will be taking pictures of their property damage, and in Missouri and in most other states, an invoice and evidence of the property damage isn’t good evidence as to the amount of the property damage. In fact, many property damage bills are not allowed in evidence in most car crash cases. So, you want to have pictures.
Take a picture on your phone of basically of the area that’s damaged. If you can’t see, if you have a bumper that collapsed in the back or something, if you don’t see as much there but you get under the car and you see a metal bent or we just had a case where they lifted up the floor carpets and they saw that the metal was all crunched even though the impact that it happened on a hitch, take pictures of that. Take pictures of your property damage. Email them to me, your lawyer, if you’re my client at email@example.com. We take your pictures, we save them for later, and then when we do our demands and we put evidence on, we do that.
At trials, I take these pictures up and I cross-examine the defendant when the defendant gets, when he says, “Oh, it wasn’t a hard impact,” or, “I didn’t even feel it.” I sit there and show them the pictures, and the jury sits there and says, “Are you kidding me? Look at the damage to that vehicle.”
You want to take pictures of the scene of skid marks. I actually had a lady back into me the other night, and she didn’t want to give me her information. She happened to be a lawyer. It’s very interesting. She ended up giving me her information, but I took a picture of her license plate while I was sitting there. So, everybody has cellphones these days. If you’re ever in an accident afterwards, take picture of the defendant’s car, your car, take pictures of the skid marks.
We had a case where I did a deposition not too long ago, a couple of months ago where the defendant tow truck driver said that the incident that happened at one place and that she drove much farther on and she tried to move the place of the incident to say that she did yield the right of way when she merged in. She did not, and I showed her the picture that my client had taken in the scenes and said, “How come the parts that fell off your vehicle are right there next to your vehicle?” And she couldn’t have an answer. I said, “You know, if this happened back there and you got hit and you lost your bumper and part of your vehicle, that should have been back there. Instead, it was right there.”
Don’t trust that the way the defendant testifies to it later is going to be the same, so take pictures to do that. You also always want to get witness names and witness information, and I try to say this in a lot of these videos is you would not believe the number of times where someone thinks it’s a clear liability case. They don’t get any witness names. There’s a bunch of witnesses there that says, “It was that guy ran the red light, that guy rear-ended you,” etc. But, they get the police report later and there’s no witnesses in it because the police officer didn’t write it down. They’re busy folks, they make mistakes, and then the defendant has some cocumaime story about how it wasn’t their fault, and then we’re sitting there without any witnesses. Get witness names and take pictures.
If you have any questions, I’m Gary Burger of Burger Law, firstname.lastname@example.org, and we’re at 314-542-2222, in Illinois at 618-272-2222. Thank you.