In Virginia Personal Injury Law a Picture is Worth A Thousand Words and Perhaps $1 Million
We all know the old saying about how valuable a photograph can be. The ability to take pictures from our cellular phones has really improved my ability as a Virginia personal injury attorney to tell the story of my clients’ accidents and injuries. In one recent case, I achieved a seven-figure result in large part based upon the compelling pictures of my client’s injury.
This particular client suffered an electrical burn injury to his body and the pictures that were taken of him in the hospital and during the surgical reconstruction process really were so scary that the insurance company had to recognize the value of the claim even before they heard a lot from me or my client about the case.
For example, this client had burns over his hand in a way that caused them to have to amputate one of his fingers. Additionally, the high voltage had run through his body in a way that left terrible scars on both of his forearms and on his belly where the electricity had exited.
They had to take skin from his legs in order to graft them onto the other parts of his body where the skin had been completely destroyed leaving scars on his thighs as well.
Obviously, that level of burn injury and scarring would be horrible on any patient and any client. If it happened to a young person or a woman, it might have even been more horrifying. I was glad that my client had used his mobile phone to document some of his injuries in the early days and weeks after the event so that we had those when the time came to try to resolve his case with the responsible company’s insurer. In the early days of my personal injury practice 30 years ago, such a wealth of photographic information was rarely available.
Cell phone or other photographic information can also go a long way towards clarifying the liability issues in a personal injury case, meaning who was at fault and why. If you ever have the misfortune to be in a serious car or truck wreck or have a very bad injury like a fall or trip at a business it’s always important to try to get photographic information about the scene and the cause of the injury as soon as possible.
If you or a family member are able to take pictures of the roadway and the property damage to the car, this evidence can be invaluable. The photograph may be of where the debris ended up after a wreck can provide key information in proving that the other person was at fault and you were free from fault as we have to show in a Virginia car accident case.
Likewise, if you get hurt at a store because of falling merchandise, it’s a huge help to be able to have some pictures of the aisle, the way the merchandise is stacked, and what exactly fell and hit you.
Often the store or business will clean up and change the scene very soon after somebody gets seriously hurt. Although I will get out to the scene with an investigator to take pictures as soon as you call me in a premises liability case it’s even better if I can verify through your pictures that the scene was the same when I and the expert get out there as when you got hurt. Obviously, if you’re severely injured it may be that taking pictures is the last thing on your mind if you’re in excruciating pain. However if you can get someone else, a friend, family member, or even another customer or a witness to take the pictures for you that can make a ton of difference.
Even though you may think that the store has surveillance cameras which could show what happened to you often those cameras are not working or don’t really pick up the exact location where the event happened or even in a worst-case scenario are hidden or otherwise not properly produced by the at‑fault company and their insurance carrier.
Obviously, there’s more to getting a $1 million settlement or verdict than just showing a series of photographs. However, photographs are often the very best evidence that can move a juror or even the cold decision-makers at an insurance company who realize that if they don’t pay what they should that a jury probably will.
Securing photographic and video information about an accident in an injury case in Virginia is critical. It is one of the reasons why you should always contact an experienced Virginia Beach personal injury attorney like those at Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers as soon as possible after a major injury even if you’re not sure whether you will need to make a claim or not. Call us for a free consultation after an injury at (757) 455-0077.