Smile, You’re on Camera

Man taking photo of his car with damages

One thing that has changed drastically in my thirty three years as a practicing lawyer is the prevalence of video and cameras in our society. Where before a Polaroid “instant” camera seemed like magic, and a video camcorder let us videotape everything (as long as we carried the 10-pound thing around with us everywhere and kept it charged up) we now have phones that can perform all those functions, and then some, to the 100th power.

In the “old days” of the ‘90s and early 2000s, lawyers would send out professional photographers to get photos of evidence—visible injuries to our clients, crash scenes and property damage, and uneven sidewalks. Now, anyone with a smartphone has the same ability to capture all these easily and without any cost.

Why should you care about this technological revolution?

There’s Been a Crash

If you are in an automobile crash, a trip or slip incident, or other situation where you are injured, you should document every aspect of the scene and your injuries immediately.

  • Take photos of where the vehicles come together and the damage to them
  • Take photos of any visible bruises, cuts, bleeding you are experiencing
  • Take photos of the scene—the crack on the sidewalk where you fell, the slippery substance in the grocery store aisle and the signage (or lack thereof).

But there is more you can do.

Direct Your Own Movie

With a little planning, you can set up your smartphone to record video of you driving. If you are a cyclist, you can get a camera for your helmet to record your ride. Many new vehicles have video embedded into the vehicle and all you have to do is click “enable.”

Both can be extremely helpful should that drive or ride end in a crash.

Why would that video be useful after a crash? To help prove who was at fault! And the question of fault has a significant impact on the likelihood that you will recover a financial award or settlement for your injuries.

Most crashes are unwitnessed or are witnessed by people whose identity the participants never learn. Many people involved in crashes are less than certain of what happened, while many others convince themselves their version of events is correct. Because of this, there may be a difference in testimony about how the crash occurred and who was primarily at fault. (If you are more than 50% at fault, you get no recovery at all. Also, for every percentage point below that percentage you are deemed by a trier of fact (judge or jury) to be at fault, your award is reduced by that much).

Video can fill in the gaps about what is known with certainty about the cause of the accident, and swing the balance one way or another.

No Good Reason Not To Utilize This Technology

I encourage you to think of a single reason why taking photos or videos would be a bad idea.

I hear crickets.

Then it’s settled. Always have your phone set up to record your drive. Always ride your bike with a camera on your helmet.


  • Use photographs and/or videos to preserve evidence if you are involved in a crash or accident
  • Photograph property damage, position of vehicles, the area where you fell, and any visible injuries
  • Take things to the next level and have your camera set to record video of your drive or ride.

Contact Chicago Personal Injury Lawyer Stephen Hoffman

As in all cases involving injury, medical malpractice, or other potential liability, if you have been in a car accident or hit by a vehicle, immediately get medical treatment, report the crash to police and your own insurance company, and contact a lawyer with expertise in your type of case, such as bicycle accidents or pedestrians hit by cars.

If you've been in an accident and have questions, contact Chicago personal injury attorney Stephen L. Hoffman for a free consultation at (773) 944-9737. Stephen has over 30 years of legal experience and has collected millions of dollars for his clients. He is listed as a SuperLawyer, has a 10.0 rating on Avvo, and is BBB A+ accredited. He is also an Executive Level Member of the Lincoln Square Ravenswood Chamber of Commerce.

Stephen handles personal injury claims on a contingency fee basis, which means you don’t pay anything up front, and he only gets paid if you do. Don’t wait another day; contact Stephen now.