Almost everyone today carries a cell phone, and many people snap photos with their phone all day long. But surprisingly, many people forget to take accident photos or videos at the exact moment they could be extremely helpful – when you or someone else has been in an accident.

If you’re ever in a car crash, for instance, a simple cell phone can be the key to making sure you’re properly compensated for any damage or injury.

Of course, the first priority in a crash is to attend to anyone who might be hurt. But as soon as it’s safe to do so, it’s a good idea to take photos of the entire scene and of all vehicles that were involved. You want to have a record of what everything looked like immediately after the accident, before anything was moved.

If possible, take pictures both inside your car and outside to give a real sense of how serious the impact was. Take pictures of the scene, too, including any skid marks, traffic lights, street signs, roadside debris and anything else that can help you get a complete picture.

A camera phone can also help you make sure you get all the necessary documentation. You can take pictures of license plates, car models and VIN numbers. And you can use your camera to record insurance information and driver’s licenses.

Having a photo record of the accident scene can be very helpful when dealing with an insurance adjuster. It’s tough for an adjuster to question the extent of the harm when there are photos taken directly at the scene.

If your camera lets you record video with sound, this can be even more powerful. You might be able to record a statement from a witness on the spot.

Don’t assume the police will take accident photos of the scene. In most cases, they won’t.

Here’s another example: If you or someone you’re with slips and falls, it’s always a good idea to use photos or video to make a record. That’s because people often don’t realize immediately after a fall how seriously they’ve been hurt.

Also, it might be very difficult to prove later what it was that caused the fall. After snow and ice have melted, a grocery store aisle has been cleaned up, or a broken sidewalk has been repaired, it might be all but impossible to show that these things caused someone to slip and hurt themselves, but accident photos are worth a thousand words.

In one recent case, a tradesman who was working at a home building site fell through some poorly constructed temporary stairs and badly injured his leg. Some other workers eventually found him and took him to the hospital. Later, the contractor for the site dismantled the stairs and got rid of all the evidence.

Fortunately, at the hospital the tradesman had asked his wife to go to the scene and pick up his tools. While there, she used her phone to take some photos of the stairs.

When the case went to court, those photos were the key evidence and made it possible to prove to the jury that the contractor had been negligent and caused the accident.

As a final thought, if you see a dangerous condition in general – such as a gaping pothole or broken playground equipment – why not take a photo and send it to the local government, so they can take care of the situation before someone gets hurt?

Many cities and towns have rules saying that they’re not legally responsible for a safety problem unless somebody told them about it. So it’s a good idea to tell them about it. You might well prevent a serious accident, or at least help the victim to be fairly compensated if one occurs.

If you’ve experienced an injury or loss, call us at 864.233.7200 or 1.800.903.8101 for a free telephone consultation.