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One of the greatest developments of the last few decades has been the cell phone. Not because it allows instant communication or that you can now play games and surf the web while walking down the street. Not a good idea by the way. However, the cell phone is a great development because 99.9% of them now have built in cameras. What has that got to do with protecting yourself after an auto accident? Simple, it means that the majority of us can now document an accident scene as never before.

The official police report will have a sketch of the vehicles finale positions and witness testimony will help fill in the gaps, of what occurred, but as the old saying goes “a picture is worth a thousand words.”

In pictures you can not only show the final resting places of the vehicles involved, but you can capture the entire scene. If there was gravel left on the road from nearby construction, were there safety signs posted where they should have been? Unless the responding officer is more astute than most, these details will not be mentioned in the accident report and most witnesses probably won’t make note of them. However, it will show up in the pictures and for your attorney they can be gold.

These small details can make a huge difference if you end up in court with a third party claim involved.

So the next question is what you should take time to document. In short, everything.

You should take wide angle shots capturing the entire scene. You should take close ups of any damages that resulted from the accident, any skid marks that are on the road, even the sky to show what the weather conditions were like when the accident occurred. No detail is too small or unimportant.

You can never tell what may be of value if you end up in a court battle.

Insurance defense lawyers hate pictures. Their greatest joy is to have a case come down to a ‘he said, she said’ status where they can dispute your version of the accident and not pay you what is rightfully yours. If you have pictures, they can be difficult for the Insurance Company to argue with.

In the first 3 pieces of this series, we talked about getting official reports, watching what you say and getting proper medical assessments performed. What all of these and today’s subject come down to is documenting exactly what happened and the results of the accident.

In business, there is a saying that “if it is not written down, it doesn’t exist.” When it comes to battling the big money insurance companies and their stable of high priced lawyers, even what is written down may not be enough to protect your rights.

I have seen official reports disputed, eyewitness testimony called into question and even official medical records denied. What it comes down to is what you can prove, beyond a doubt, to the jury and people believe what their eyes tell them.

So do yourself and your attorney a favor, grab that cell phone and snap away. If you have to delete a few selfies to make room, so be it.

This is your future we are talking about, after all, and I’ve said before, you only get one shot to get it right.