How Dashcam Footage Can Impact a Car Accident Case
If you don’t have a dashboard camera (aka “dashcam”), you may consider purchasing one. A dashcam is an onboard recording device mounted inside the windshield. As you drive, it records video and audio. It even records when you are parked.
Some dashcams record both what is ahead of your vehicle and what is going on inside the cab. Make sure you are not recording any high-risk behavior while you are behind the wheel.
In a car accident, a dashcam can be your best friend. If there is any question about who caused an accident, the dash camera provides solid evidence to clarify any ambiguity.
And even while parked, the camera can reveal who tried to break in or hit your vehicle.
Proving Your Case
In the case of an auto accident, eyewitness testimony is often subjective and unreliable. One witness may contradict another. Even a police report may be in error depending on who told their story to the officer first.
The at-fault driver may deny he was speeding, weaving through traffic, and driving recklessly.
A dashcam video will show what actually happened. The officer can request to see the dashcam recording at the scene, which you may or may not choose to provide.
There is also a flip side to consider where the dashcam may be your worst enemy.
If you were driving distracted, reaching for your phone, drinking, or arguing with someone, in other words, not paying attention to driving, you might be considered at fault for the accident. The at-fault driver is responsible for the other driver’s injuries.
Alabama is also a contributory negligence state. Suppose the recording reveals you admitting you were doing something that contributed to the accident.
A statement such as, “I need to slow down,” during a rainstorm and recorded on your dashcam could mean you likely knew your actions may have contributed, to some degree, to your accident.
Contributory negligence means if you contribute even 1% to causing the accident, you are prevented from recovering the cost of the accident from the other driver, which includes medical expenses, pain and suffering, and property damage.
Also, legally, Alabama requires that only one person be aware of a recording in a car. Fifteen other states require 2-party consent to a recording inside a vehicle. You do not want to record someone in your car in a state where that is illegal.
Following the car accident, notice if the other driver has a dashcam. If he was at fault, he might not want to show the police the footage. He may refuse to allow the officer on the scene to see the video footage.
This is when you need the expertise of a car accident attorney to push the other driver’s insurance company to release the footage.
To transfer the video, remove the camera from the car and connect it to a computer with a USB cable that came in the box. The footage should not be edited or altered in any way. Make sure you understand how it’s to be transferred before attempting to do so.
If acceptable to the insurance company, another option may be an online transfer of the footage.
Once the video has been obtained, it almost always holds up in court if it can be authenticated that it came from your camera or the other drivers.
It doesn’t matter which side the footage favors; the insurance negotiator will always take it into consideration when determining negligence and fault.
Your insurer may not tell you, but there may be a discount on car insurance coverage when you have a dashcam. If you are willing to record your driving, you may be considered less of a risk in the eyes of the insurer.
Your Alabama Car Accident Lawyer
Attorney Chip Nix has represented countless individuals involved in car accidents in Montgomery and surrounding counties in his nearly five decades of practicing personal injury law. He can advise you on maximizing your damages and using the dashcam footage. Time is of the essence when evidence can disappear, so do not delay.
Contact the law office of Chip Nix in Montgomery to discuss how you can recover the total damages you will need from the at-fault driver. Please make an appointment online or call for a complimentary consultation at his office at 334-203-6669.