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No matter how it happens, any kind of car accident is scary. You might experience some bruising, whiplash, or more severe injuries. Even if your party survives the accident with only a few scratches, it’s a jarring experience for everyone involved.

After a car accident, whipping out your phone to snap some photos is probably the last thing on your mind. However, there are a few reasons it’s important to take pictures as soon as possible after the event.

Outsiders will be able to know what happened

A picture of a red car photographed after an accident.
Accident photo | Getty Images

Car accidents often occur in the blink of an eye, so it’s hard to assess what happened if you weren’t involved. That’s why Erie Insurance says taking pictures of the accident with wide-angle shots is crucial. Photos should be taken with the flash off unless you’re in the dark without any nearby overhead lighting.

As long as you’re away from oncoming traffic, you should also take pictures from all four corners of the scene. Look for any parts that broke off of either vehicle and the license plate numbers. You should also use your camera to document any new skid marks on the highway caused by the incident. 

It doesn’t hurt to take photos of your surroundings, especially if there are stop signs and speed limit markers. Not only does it set the scene, but it helps point out the possible recklessness of the person at fault. Take pictures of property damage to utility poles, guard barriers, street lamps, or any other structure involved in the crash.

Additionally, take a few photos of any injuries you or your passengers received. This will show insurance companies the full extent of the responsible party’s fault.

Erie Insurance also recommends getting footage of what regular traffic flow looks like from the accident scene. The more evidence you have, the faster you’ll be able to get insurance claims settled.

Pictures can determine who was at fault

Even if a driver believes they are responsible for the accident, they can still report the opposite to their insurance company. With two totaled cars and a pair of conflicting stories, it will take a while for the insurance companies to determine who is telling the truth. Detailed photos taken at the scene can serve as concrete proof that you weren’t the one who caused the collision.

Unless you want your insurance premiums to rise, it’s crucial to absolve yourself from blame after an accident. According to Bankrate, the average at-fault charge causes your insurance costs to increase by $750. In many states, you’ll also get at least 4-6 points on your driver’s license.

When a driver is determined to be at fault, their insurance company will have to pay for any damages. Erie Insurance says it typically covers medical bills for all parties involved, even if they weren’t behind the wheel. The at-fault party’s insurance company also has to pay property damage fines and repair costs for your car.

You’ll need documentation for your insurance claim

Many parties choose to file a police report after an accident, especially if there were any injuries or damaged pieces of property. Insurance companies will take that information into account when deciding the outcome of your claim. 

If witness testimonies aren’t included in the report, your insurance company may personally reach out to the involved parties. If you can back up your story with detailed pictures, you’ll likely get a favorable (and faster) resolution.

Since many people have smartphones with cameras, documenting an accident is easier than ever. From there, you can easily upload them to your insurance company’s website or mobile app. 


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