Why it is so Important to Take Photographs.
As trial attorneys, it is often best for us to think about a case in reverse – so for us, it starts with the Verdict Form for trial, then, we work our way backwards.
You may ask why this is important when most cases do not go to court, much less go all the way to trial? Documenting proof of injury – right after an accident – is important no matter what the stage a case or claim is at. YOU CANNOT GO BACK IN TIME TO GET EVIDENCE THAT DISAPPEARS LATER ON.
In most cases, the first question on the Verdict Form is: Was the defendant negligent? However, the lynchpin question on the Verdict Form is: Was the defendant’s negligence a legal cause of loss, injury or damage? This is the number one area where the defense will dispute a claim. It is always the plaintiff’s job to prove it is more likely than not that an accident caused the injury; the defense will hire a doctor to try to poke holes or throw doubt in the eyes of the jury.
How can we stop that and how can we help take that issue from the jury’s consideration – objective proof. If, for example, you’re in a car crash and the airbag deploys leaves burns on your face or the seatbelt leave bruising on your chest – TAKE PHOTOGRAPHS. If you fall because of liquid on the floor and it leaves a bruise to your hip – TAKE PHOTOGRAPHS (also take photographs of the liquid). Most times, we ask clients if they took photographs and they reply, I just didn’t think to take photos.
In trial, there is a concept called a Directed Verdict – which means that the Judge can say – as a matter of law – that the evidence is so clear that the jury cannot reach any other decision. When it comes to causation of loss, injury, or damage, it is not always enough for doctors (for both plaintiff and defense) to say that the accident was the cause of the injury if there are issues of credibility to be weighed by a jury. However, if you have a photograph showing clearly that an injury exists – this will likely be enough to show your entitlement to damages.
The phrase, “a picture is worth a thousand words” is most evident in cases where you or a loved one is claiming an injury because of the negligence of another. Some injuries or outward signs of trauma fade, or disappear, with time and can never be objectively proved again – so it is always best to get proof from the beginning. Some people are naturally skeptical – so a photograph is something that is undisputable. A photograph of your injury or a condition will always help prove your case.
Even the best lawyers are confined by the law and by the facts – it never hurts to have undeniable facts to document your injuries and the losses you suffer when in an accident.