With over 7.5 million drivers sharing Georgia roads, even careful motorists may find themselves in a potentially deadly motor vehicle accident. The Georgia Department of Public Health reports that auto collisions are the leading cause of injury-related fatalities in the state, and the second leading cause of emergency room and hospitalization care.

After an accident, ensuring everyone’s safety should take priority. However, if possible, it is also important that drivers involved in even a minor collision prepare to fully document the incident while on the scene, including detailed photographs and video.

1. Injuries

As soon as it is safe to do so, photograph any sustained injuries. In some cases, bruising and other types of injury may not be apparent for several hours. Make sure to document medical developments both immediately after and in the days following the incident.

2. Property damage

In addition to photographing the involved vehicles, take pictures of any damage on the scene related to the circumstances of the accident: from damaged signage, objects or buildings to skid marks, shattered glass or other road debris.

3. Traffic signs and signals

While still on the scene, take pictures of existing (or absent) traffic signs, signals and other road warnings. If possible, try to include the involved autos in any photos, including lights, yield or stop signs that an at-fault driver may have missed or ignored.

4. The scene generally

After even a minor accident it is natural to feel shaken and disoriented. When in doubt, take time-stamped photographs and video of everything possible. In addition to helping you to remember the circumstances of the accident later, doing so may be invaluable for proving an insurance or lawsuit claim.