Central New York accident lawyers and victims, and such lawyers and victims everywhere, owe a big debt to Philippe Kahn. Who’s he, you ask? Kahn invented, on a whim, the camera phone about 13 years ago (while he was waiting for his wife to deliver a baby — read full story in USAToday). Yes, that ubiquitous, ever-handy device that can snap a picture anywhere, anytime, was invented only 13 years ago!
Why do accident victims need to thank Kahn? Because they can just reach into their pocket, or pocketbook, pull out Kahn’s invention, point, click and — voila! – evidence preserved!
Two of our recent cases demonstrate what a game-changer the cell phone camera is for personal injury cases.
Case #1: Wife slips and falls and suffers a serious back injury on snow-covered steps outside a commercial office building. The husband, after attending to his injured wife, has the wherewithal to pull his cell phone out of his pocket and snap some pictures of the icy, snow-covered steps. Fast forward several months — case settles for a very significant amount of compensation. Why? Because we could prove how bad those steps were with the photos. Without the photos, the snow would have been gone by the time a lawyer or investigator got to the scene.
Case #2: Heavy-set man was walking down wooden steps of a New York State police trailer. The wooden steps snap underneath his foot, causing him to fall and sustain multiple tears in the soft tissue around his knee. Before dragging himself to his car, he has the wherewithal to snap photos of the broken steps with his cell phone. They show that a “stringer” (a support device) was missing from the middle of the steps, which is what caused them to snap under his weight. Now the evidence is preserved for his personal injury case.
These are just two examples of how cell phone cameras have helped our New York personal injury victims preserve evidence in their cases. The same kind of photo-snapping is happening now in all kinds of accident cases, including auto accidents (shoot up that collision scene before the tow trucks arrive!), parking lot falls (snap that pothole before they fill it!), construction accidents (photograph that collapsed scaffold before they remove it!) and defective products cases, just to name a few.
I am sure Philippe Kahn did not have personal injury cases in mind when he invented the camera phone. But Henry Ford didn’t have space travel in mind when he invented the combustible engine, either. I tip my hat to you, Philippe Kahn (and, while I’m at it — to Henry Ford, too).