One of the cardinal rules following a car accident in New York is to make sure that you get photographs of the damage to the respective vehicles before they are repaired. And the reason for this is relatively straightforward: they are some of the best evidence you can have to demonstrate not only the severity of the impact between the vehicles, but are extremely valuable in helping to re-create how the accident actually occurred.
In the Kings County property damage case of Yarmish v. Scharf, which appears in tomorrow's edition of the New York Law Journal, this principle came front and center. In that case, the hearing officer presiding over the case was called upon to determine which party's version of events regarding the car crash was more credible. In reaching her decision, Judicial Hearing Officer Nadelson stated the following:
"With the exception of some scratch marks at the back end of plaintiff's minivan near the right rear wheel, the photos offered by both parties do not depict any noticeable impact on the right rear door. Both sets of photos, however, do portray a major impact on the right front door preceding the door handle. That does not comport with [plaintiff]'s testimony that plaintiff's van was already three-quarters into the right lane when the vehicles collided. Rather, the court is more inclined towards [defendant]'s testimony that the vehicles were in somewhat of a 'v' shape at impact and there was no interaction with the back of plaintiff's car."