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5 Tips on How to Photograph Damage to your Vehicle

Having the right photographs of the damage to your automobile is extremely important in an automobile accident case. Not only can such photographs show the severity of a collision, but in many instances, they can help establish the cause of the collision.

Because having the right photographs is so important to your case, I strongly recommend that you immediately contact an experienced personal injury attorney to assist you. Not only will the attorney arrange for a professional photographer to get the appropriate photographs, the attorney will also determine what other experts should be involved in the initial investigation. And the attorney will take steps to make sure that important evidence is preserved or otherwise properly documented. For example an attorney may decide to save your vehicle because it may be needed to establish that the vehicle was defective.

In the event that your attorney is unable to immediately begin an investigation, including photographing your vehicle, here are a few suggestions for taking photographs of the damage to your vehicle:

1. Use a good digital camera.

Although most cell phones are equipped with cameras the quality of pictures taken on a cell phone is never as good as the photographs taken on a camera. Furthermore, most cell phones do not have any sort of true zoom function. Use a cell phone only if you don’t have a camera available.

2. Get the big picture first.

Start by taking an overall photograph of the part of the vehicle (front, back, side, etc.) damaged before taking any close ups of the damage. For example, once you have taken photographs showing the entire front of the vehicle, you can proceed to take close ups showing the specific damage to the front. Take multiple photographs of the same area of the vehicle from different angles with and without a flash. Also, you want to get photographs of the damage that isn’t readily apparent such as damage under the hood, in the trunk, under the bumpers, etc. It is a good idea to take photographs of all sides of the vehicle even though there is no physical damage to a particular side of the vehicle.

3. Don’t forget the interior of the vehicle.

Once you have photographed the exterior of the vehicle, take photographs of the interior area of the vehicle including the inside of the trunk or cargo area. Again, get the big picture first before taking any close ups. Try to take the photographs in a way that the damaged part is recognizable. Multiple photographs of the same area taken from different angles can help to illustrate the full extent or nature of the damage.

4. Miscellaneous photographs.

It is also a good idea to take photographs of the license plate on the vehicle, the inspection sticker and any other similar identification markings including the vehicle VIN number. Also save any Tom Tom, Garmin or other similar navigation device. Photograph any part of the vehicle that may be important to determining the cause of the accident.

5. Back-up any photographs.

Be sure to back-up any photographs taken on your camera. You never know when your camera might malfunction or break.

Remember that the proper documentation and preservation of evidence is extremely important to your case. Therefore, be sure to immediately contact an experienced personal injury attorney to assist you. While the pictures that you take may be helpful, only an experienced personal injury attorney knows what steps to take to preserve and document the evidence necessary to protect all of your legal interests.