If you have been involved in some kind of accident - whether it is a motor vehicle accident, a slip and fall accident, or an accident whereby you received some type of injury through someone's fault - you should return as soon as possible to the site where you were injured; preferably by the next day!
Should your injuries prevent you from returning to the accident site, have someone else go there for you once that person is aware of exactly what, where, and when it happened.
You want to return to the site of the injury as soon as possible in order to identify and locate any evidence that might assist you in the prosecution of your case and to take photographs of any and all conditions that might have caused or contributed to your accident or that reflect the extent of the damage.
Because an accident can happen so quickly, and because once it happens, you may be in a state of shock, panic, or confusion, you may not remember many details about the accident. People are sometimes very surprised to learn of facts or situations that may have caused their accident that they were not aware of at the time they were injured.
On the return visit, follow these steps as they apply to your accident:
- Your first photograph should include a copy of that day’s daily newspaper with the date of the paper clearly visible in the picture. This photograph will ensure that you do not forget when the pictures were taken.
- At a motor vehicle accident site, you may be able to find skid marks that should be photographed. If so, measure the skid marks and record these measurements with a magic marker on sheets of paper. Then place the paper giving the correct measurement to one side of each skid mark and photograph each mark. Each picture will thus show both the mark and its length.
- You might also find that a stop sign that was supposed to be posted at an intersection was not there, or perhaps a traffic light turns green in one direction while allowing left-hand turns in the other direction, or maybe a traffic light was not working properly. You should also take photographs of all such items.
- You may find evidence of the collision at the point of impact. It is usually the area where dirt and broken glass remain as a result of the force of the collision. You should determine where that point appears to be and photograph it. The evidence may indicate, for example, that the other driver crossed over into your lane and caused the accident.
- In the case of a fall, you may be able to photograph some evidence of a defect that caused you to fall before the defect is repaired.
- You should take a great many photographs from every possible angle so that people who are unfamiliar with the accident scene will be able to understand the physical layout of the site just by looking at your pictures. Your pictures should answer any questions about where the accident scene was and how it appeared.
- If possible, photograph the accident site at the same time of day as when your accident occurred, unless conditions are such that you are unable to obtain good quality photographs (as when, for example, there is insufficient light). If you can, you should reproduce the same conditions that were present when your accident occurred.
If you have any further questions regarding return visits to accident sites, contact Hastings, Cohan & Walsh, LLP at 888-244-5480. We have knowledgeable and experienced lawyers ready to help you through this difficult time.