Using Your Smartphone as a Tool to Document Your Accident

By Pauline Nassif, Civil Litigation Paralegal

You are running late for work, your coffee was made wrong and now you are stopped at yet another red light when without warning you get rear-ended. You call your boss to let him know what happened while you sit and wait for help to arrive. Suddenly you realize that you have a valuable tool right in the palm of your hand.

While you are waiting on the side of the road for a tow and/or the police to arrive, consider using your cell phone to document your accident.  By using your cell phone to document the details of your accident you are safeguarding the evidence you will need for your insurer, the police and your personal injury attorney.  Of course, if you are injured in any capacity it is important that you remain calm and stay in your vehicle if necessary until emergency medical response services arrives.  Otherwise, if you are able, you may begin to document your crash while you wait.

Accident-preparedness apps are commonly used today to document the evidence after an automobile crash, however if you do not have an app installed on your smartphone here are some helpful tips on how to properly document the evidence.

Documenting the Crash

Most smartphones have a camera which is an extremely useful tool to have after an automobile or any other type of accident. Make sure that you take pictures of everything related to the accidents such as the damage done to your vehicle (both inside and outside), any liquids leaking from underneath the vehicle, pictures of broken glass, debris in the road, the damage to the other person’s vehicle, pictures of the roadway or intersection where the accident took place and also try to take a picture of both vehicles together to show the points of impact and other necessary evidence of how the accident may have taken place.

Most smartphones also have recording devices available and this can also be a very helpful tool to document your conversation with the other driver.  In many states it is illegal to record a person without their knowledge, so be sure to let the other driver know that you are either audio recording or video recording your conversation with them for insurance purposes.  Often times it is difficult to recall what was said after an accident between the parties or by witnesses since most people are shaken up from the accident.  Recording exchanges between parties and witnesses can assist with recalling information after a traumatic situation.  Recording strange behavior of anyone at the scene of an accident can also document evidence of the other driver potentially being under the influence or intoxicated.  If the other driver disagrees with being recorded, you could assure them that they too could do the same.

Exchanging Information

Your smartphone can also be helpful in gathering relevant information from the other driver.  You can take a picture of the other vehicle’s license plate number, the other operator’s driver’s license, and a picture of their registration and insurance information.  This is much easier than looking for a pen and a piece of scrap paper.  You could also take pictures of your own set of information in advance of an accident so you are not scrambling around your vehicle to locate your information.  You can simply pull up the pictures on your phone or the memo where you stored your information in advance to provide to the other driver.  Thinking ahead and keeping your information stored in advance will provide much needed relief after the confusion of an auto accident.

Document your Injuries

After you have received medical treatment it is important that you consider taking pictures of any lacerations, stitches, bruising, scrapes, swelling etc. of any injuries you may have received as a result of your accident.  Also, keep a photo-journal of any scarring in the coming days and weeks after your accident.

Call Swanson & Moors, LLC

If you or your family member has been injured, you can’t afford to pass up a free consultation with an experienced attorney.  Contact Swanson & Moors, LLC today.