Dash cam footage has become more prevalent over the past few years when it comes to giving actual proof over what happened in any given incident. Police departments have utilized dash cams to document traffic stops for years. Recently, average citizens have installed these devices for their own use, as well.
If you are being blamed for an accident in which you weren’t at fault, but you had a dash cam in your vehicle, that dash cam footage could be used as evidence in your case. You can use the dash cam to help show that the other driver was at-fault and is liable for the damages that you suffered. Your personal injury attorney will help you submit your dash cam footage as evidence.
Your dash cam footage can help show how you were behaving, how you were driving, and how you reacted to any dangers. When there is an accident, the other driver might claim you were driving recklessly, speeding, or distracted. The dash cam footage can help you refute those claims.
Dash cams can show that you were in the proper lane of traffic, how fast you were traveling, and that you were attentive. It can help you prove that you aren’t to blame for the accident that you were involved in. It can help show how the other driver reacted and what was the cause for the accident.
The dash cam footage could be your main source of proof that you are not at fault, and it is stronger evidence than any other details that you could provide, such as photos and witness statements.
However, you should gather all the evidence that you possibly can to support your auto accident claim. You don’t want to be held liable for the damages suffered in an accident that wasn’t your fault.
You should let your auto insurer know that you did have an operating dash cam in your vehicle and that it caught the events before and during the accident. Your insurance company will want to review the footage of your dash cam before they make a determination on liability and before they pay any claims filed regarding the crash.
Dash cam footage can have a significant impact on the outcome of an auto accident injury claim, and it can even change the entire outcome of the case. It can show liability and shift responsibility for the damages.
It can be an asset in many ways and can even help show that you don’t deserve any traffic violations or charges because of your actions during the accident. You can use it as evidence to help you if you are facing charges or were given citations because of the crash.
However, can you utilize these cameras and the footage from them in disputing or proving fault in a personal injury case? We have asked a legal expert, attorney Alaina Sullivan, about what you should do. Here is what she had to say:
What Is a Dash Cam?
A dash cam is a device that you can install in your car, on the dashboard, for the purpose of recording everything that happens while you drive, similar to a GoPro. They can be a single or a double lens digital camera that is hooked to your window or dashboard, powered by being wired to your car.
When you start your vehicle, the camera records video to an SD card. It shows what you see as a driver. Some record sound, and depending on how nice the camera is, some record in night vision. All of these types of devices are perfectly legal.
Why They Help
When it comes to proving fault in a car accident, it is often your word against the other driver. Yes, you can get a police report to help you in proving you were not the reason the car accident happened, but even police reports go off of the statements made from those involved and those from witnesses.
Actual footage of the accident itself can be pretty convincing evidence, and the insurance company will want to see anything that could potentially exonerate you. It is for this reason that many people utilize dash cams in their vehicles.
When They Do Not Help
However, there are some situations where dash cam footage may not necessarily work in your favor. One situation involves when the footage captured does not show what actually happened. It may show that there was an impact, but it may not show the impact from the point of view where the impact actually occurred.
For instance, if you were rear-ended, and the footage showed the car from the front forward, your footage may not be helpful. If the dash cam shows you doing something reckless or driving negligently, the footage would actually work against you, and you may not want to use it.
If you were driving while distracted or ran a red light, disobeying a traffic signal, that footage would show that you were the driver who is at fault. In addition, if you are driving in a restricted area or private property, you may not be able to use the footage. At minimum, you may have a difficult time getting it admitted in court depending on the circumstances.
Dash Cams in a Single Car Accident
There are benefits to having a dash cam even if you are in a single accident. Sometimes single car accidents are caused by phantom drivers. Dash cams can show erratic driving by other vehicles and can show if you have been run off the road by another vehicle that left the scene of the crash. The footage can show if there is a reckless driver that caused you to swerve.
The dash camera can also show things like pedestrians who crossed the road illegally – not at a crosswalk – or who just walked out in front of your vehicle. The footage can also show animals that run into your path and you trying to avoid them or hitting them, and it can also show debris falling from passing vehicles or off buildings, or limbs or trees falling into your path.
It can show why your single car accident occurred and any contributing factors. It could mean the difference between a collision claim or an underinsured/uninsured motorist claim if another vehicle was at fault then left the scene.
Reasons To Consider Getting A Dash Camera
If you don’t have a dash cam in your vehicle, you should consider getting one because they can be very helpful and offer you some benefits and added protection. The dash cam will show what is in front of you, what is coming at you, what crosses your path, and what happens ahead of you.
Rear-end accidents are common. Usually, the driver who rear-ends the vehicle in front of him or her is to blame, but sometimes the accident is either partially the fault of the driver in front.
The footage will show what happened to cause the crash and if the car in front was driving erratically or if they stopped without warning. It could prove that you are not at fault for the rear-end collision and enable you to pursue a claim against the car in front of you that caused the accident in question.
When you file a personal injury claim after an accident, you will need to have supporting evidence and documentation that indicates how the crash happened, what happened, and who was to blame. The dash cam footage could make your case. It may be your redeeming proof that you aren’t liable for the accident and it can show who was at fault for the accident that caused the damages.
A dash cam is well worth the investment. There are different kinds of dash cams available, and they are available in a variety of price ranges. Even an inexpensive dash cam can provide the evidence that you need to succeed with your claim and to prove that you are not at fault for the accident in question.
As previously mentioned, it can help you fight any criminal charges or citations you may receive because of the accident. The dash cam would most likely pay for itself by helping you avoid a single ticket or citation. A dash cam can offer many benefits to you.
If you are ever in a crash, it can help you save a lot more. If you don’t have a dash cam, you should review the options available and determine which works best for your specific needs.
Another factor to keep in mind is footage can be submitted as proof, but nothing is ever hard and fast. In best situations, an insurance adjuster will use the footage as subjective evidence of fault. The recording will likely be used along with other evidence, including the police report and witness statements.
Further, you will need to show that the footage is 1) accurate; 2) reliable and 3) taken properly and not modified in any way. If you choose to try to get it admitted in court, you will need to meet all of the standards required for admitting evidence in court.
It is highly likely the other side will try to fight you on it, so it is always recommended you speak with a personal injury attorney.
If you do get it admitted in court or get the insurance agent to accept the footage, it can be quite helpful in proving your case, but do not put all of your eggs in one basket. Make sure you have additional evidence to help support your case. All of it combined should be able to show that you were not the driver at fault.
Contact an Attorney Today
If you have been involved in a car accident and have questions about the use of dash cam footage to prove fault, it is always recommended you contact an attorney today to discuss your case if you do not currently have a lawyer or have any questions.
A licensed personal injury attorney will be able to evaluate your case and determine if you have a claim against the other party’s insurance company. To receive the compensation for your medical bills, property damages, and pain and suffering, you should speak with a personal injury attorney in your area today.