Dash cameras are gaining popularity in the U.S. as a technique for providing evidence about what happened during a motor vehicle accident. Many believe mounting a dashcam on their vehicles can strengthen their lawsuit or compensation claim. But how useful are they?
The Role of Dash Cameras in Car Accidents
They say, “a picture is worth a thousand words” and certainly, a dashcam can provide crucial evidence for your claim following a car accident. After the crash, you can forget some details due to trauma, and that's where a dashcam comes in handy. The gadget offers objective information and overcomes the limitations of human memory. A dashcam can unravel essential information like another vehicle cutting you off or the other driver driving recklessly. Dash cam evidence can come from a camera in your own vehicle, or from the other vehicle. For example, semi-trucks often have dash cams that show the roadway as well as inside the cab, and Whalen Injury Lawyers have successfully used semi-truck dash cam video to establish driver inattentiveness.
Benefits of Dash Cam Footage as Evidence
- Objective documentation of the accident scene: Dash cam footage offers impartial, objective, visual information about what happened in an accident. The recording can also provide evidence of an unaltered series of events before, during, and after the accident.
- Determining fault and liability: Because the dash cam recordings are objective, they can provide excellent evidence to establish the party at fault. Dash cam footage can provide strong evidence for the jury to see firsthand how the crash occurred and who caused it.
- Resolving disputes and conflicting accounts: Dash cameras can help resolve disputes by providing strong factual information about a collision, especially when there are conflicting (and sometimes false or biased) accounts of what happened. Dash cam evidence is especially helpful when the police reports are unclear or are based on the conflicting subjective statements of witnesses.
Admissibility of Dash Cam Footage in Legal Proceedings
Courts in many states in the U.S. recognize and accept dash cam footage as evidence after car accidents. However, various factors have to be considered for admissibility, including the following:
- The accuracy of the dashcam footage
- Whether a witness is able to authenticate the video
- Whether the information is edited
- Likelihood of bias
- Whether the probative value of the evidence is substantially outweighed by the danger of unfair prejudice, confusing the issues, misleading the jury, undue delay, wasting time, or needlessly presenting cumulative evidence
Generally, the applicable rules of evidence must be followed in order for dash cam video to be admitted at trial. An experienced attorney will be able to evaluate the admissibility of dash cam evidence.
Steps to Preserve and Utilize Dash Cam Footage
After an accident, the first step to preserve the dash cam footage is saving, downloading, and/or locking the video recording to make sure it is not overwritten, and keeping the recording media (SD card, thumb drive , hard drive, etc.) it in a safe location. Uploading the video to cloud storage to be extra safe may be important. After that, you should seek legal advice from an experienced car accident attorney who can evaluate the video footage and potentially use the video evidence to build your case.
Dash cam footage has multiple benefits, like providing objective evidence and helping insurance companies and juries determine liability. Whalen Injury Lawyers can help you evaluate the importance of dash cam footage in your injury claim. Contact us today for legal assistance.