If you’re in an accident in an at-fault state, you were already required to purchase at least a minimum level of car insurance liability coverage. You may also have to prove that the other driver caused a collision before you can recover damages from an insurance company through a personal injury claim. You will want Surveillance Footage of the accident.
One of the big reasons you might hire a personal injury attorney is to help you in the process of gathering the needed evidence.
In some cases, evidence of a car accident can include video footage.
Video footage can be integral to having a case be decided in your favor or to settle with an insurance company.
In many states and bigger cities, there are surveillance cameras everywhere, and you might not even realize it.
However, it can be difficult to find video footage, and the person or entity that owns it might not be so willing to give it to you.
The following are some things to know about surveillance footage and car accidents.
Why Would There Be Surveillance Footage?
You might not even realize how many places there are surveillance cameras all around you.
For example, there can be video footage from a red light camera or traffic camera, but that footage is often hard to use in a collision case because it may get the wrong angle or it may only start recording something at the time of the collision without capturing what happened leading up to it.
Along with traffic cameras, there could be private cameras in the area of your crash that were being used to film either what was happening or unrelated events. For example, people are often inadvertently filming on their phone for social media and their camera happens to catch unexpected events.
There are also private traffic cameras used by new stations for traffic and weather reports and for Surveillance Footage.
Many vehicles, including buses and government vehicles, have cameras. Private businesses like restaurants, stores, convenience stores and entertainment venues have private security cameras.
How Can You Find Out If There’s Video Footage of Your Accident?
If you’re in a car accident, the best thing you can try to do is find out if there’s any video footage as soon as possible. For example, if you’re able, talk to the people around the scene of the accident. You might also want to get their contact information because they can end up being witnesses.
You should also go to nearby businesses and ask them.
If you wait too long, the videos may be archived. A lot of times, businesses will record over old footage or delete videos.
You might quite literally have to knock on doors around the area where your accident took place to see if there is any video surveillance available.
Are You Legally Entitled to Any Footage?
If you do find surveillance camera footage, your challenges aren’t over. The person who owns it might not be willing to give it to you.
There’s no legal obligation for a private company or individual to get you video footage. If you work with a lawyer, they might be able to convince them, but they don’t have to turn it over.
One of the better ways to get your video footage if you find that there’s some out there and it’s relevant to your car accident is to talk to the police officers investigating. You can let them know that you found footage and then the business or individual could be more willing to provide the footage.
In the worst-case scenario, if a private party refuses to give you footage you could file a lawsuit and try to make them give you the evidence. Getting a court order in a situation like that can take months, though.
How Is Video Footage Used?
Video footage can end up being really useful in a car accident if the other driver has a story that doesn’t match up with your own.
Video evidence is the number one way to truly show what happened without bias.
Having video footage can increase the likelihood that an insurance company will settle your claim for the value of your total damages. It may also speed up how long it takes to settle and reduce the likelihood you’d have to go to court.
What Other Evidence Do You Need?
Regardless of whether there’s video of your collision or not, you will need evidence in even a minor car accident.
The best way to start building evidence is to call the police at the time of the accident, even if you don’t think anyone is injured at the time. A police report plays a big role in determining who’s at fault.
Finally, other evidence can include photos or videos that you take, witness statements, the condition of vehicles, and any skid marks or physical evidence.