When you're involved in a car crash, it's wise to document the scene as thoroughly as possible, if you're able to, through photographs and notes. That's true whether it was your fault or someone else's and even if police have been called.

Your first priority is the safety and well-being of yourself and others who may have been injured. However, if no one requires immediate medical attention, the more quickly and thoroughly you can capture the scene, the better your chances are of getting the compensation you need from an at-fault driver. You may also be able to minimize your own liability if someone takes legal action against you.

Fortunately, virtually everyone carries a smartphone with a camera these days. However, you may be too shaken up to get good photos. If you have a passenger with you who's better able to record the scene, let him or her do it. If they're out-of-focus, they won't do you much good.

What Should You Photograph?

It's important to be strategic about what you capture. Get pictures of the entire accident scene, including all the vehicles involved and any signs or structures that were damaged. Make sure that your photos show the weather, even if it's a clear day. Some at-fault drivers blame poor weather when there wasn't a cloud in the sky.

You also want some detailed images. If there's debris on the road, whether it caused the accident or resulted from it, include that. Photograph tire skid marks or anything the at-fault driver points to as causing the accident, like a patch of ice. Take pictures of the damage to all vehicles involved. Make sure you get a picture of everyone's license plates. You may want to photograph all parties' insurance cards in addition to just exchanging information.

A Word About Privacy

It's acceptable to take photos of the people in the other cars as well as witnesses as long as they don't voice their objection. This can help police if any of them leave the scene. However, do not photograph anyone who has been injured. You can, of course, photograph your own injuries if they're visible. Do not post any photos of the aftermath of the crash on social media. This could harm your case and possibly cause you more legal problems.

If you've been involved in a crash that was the fault of another driver, an experienced car accident attorney can provide important guidance to help you seek the compensation you need and deserve to cover medical treatment, repairs and other expenses. Your photos of the scene can be highly valuable as you pursue your case.