Silent Witness: Can Your Dash Cam Tell The Tale During An Auto Accident Case?


In the U.S., dash-mounted cameras have gone from a relatively rare curiosity to a must-have accessory for drivers of all stripes. Chalk it up to countless hours of uploaded dash cam footage capturing everything from the macabre to the surreal. Many drivers now understand the value of having video footage, especially when proving their auto accident cases.

If you're a dash cam user, you might think you have everything you need to successfully prove your case. However, there's no guarantee that your footage will be admissible in court. The following takes a look at a few situations where you may not be able to rely on your dash cam to prove your case.

It Depends on the Court and Your Local Statutes

Video evidence may be the strongest type of evidence you can provide, but it doesn't guarantee its use in court. The admissibility of dash cam footage usually depends on the perspective of the court, the circumstances surrounding the accident and local or state laws on recording video footage.

The legalities of recording video footage may also pose an unexpected roadblock in your auto accident case. Although there aren't any federal laws currently in place that govern dash cam usage, there may be local and state statutes that prevent your dash cam footage from being admissible in court.

Privacy and wiretapping laws won't prevent you from recording pure video dash cam footage, for instance, but you might not be able to use that footage if it comes with audio. There are 11 states that require consent from all parties prior to recording video dash cam footage that includes audio. The remaining states and Washington, D.C. utilize one-party consent, meaning that you can record your footage as long as one of the parties consents to the recording.

Dash Cams Might Not Capture the Whole Picture

There are a lot of things that a dash cam can reveal, but it's not the all-seeing machine that people assume it to be. Although a dash cam can capture a lot of things, including if the driver and passengers in front of you are engaging and negligent or malicious actions, it can also leave out other essential evidence.

It the other vehicle caused the accident due to a mechanical failure, your dash cam might not capture this event unless it's painfully obvious. If the other vehicle experiences steering failure, for instance, it might not be readily apparent in the dash cam footage unless the steering mechanism causes a drastic and sudden change in direction.

Your dash cam might not be able to capture events inside of the other vehicle that may have contributed to the accident. As an example, your dash cam might not pick up on the other driver blacking out or becoming distracted in the moments leading up to the crash.

Last but not least, since most dash cams are pointed in one direction, they may miss action occurring outside of their view. Unless your vehicle features cameras with 360-degree views, you might not be able to see everything that's happening during the accident.

Dash Cam Footage and Private Property

On public roads, you're free to record as much footage as you'd like with your dash cam. However, that changes once you're on private property. In many circumstances, the courts may not allow dash cam footage that was taken on private property without the consent of the property owner. State and federal regulations may also prevent you from recording dash cam footage in restricted areas, including military bases and high-security facilities.

Eyewitness Accounts Still Have a Sizable Impact

Although a dash cam can prove to be an unimpeachable witness in an auto accident case, it's not always the slam dunk needed to prove your case. Claims of editing or alteration from the defense can cast doubt on the reliability of your footage, for example. This might explain why some courts give greater credence to eyewitness accounts and police reports.

Contact a local auto accident attorney through a place like Bangel, Bangel, & Bangel for more direction for your particular case. 


21 November 2016

Consulting with an Accident and Personal Injury Lawyer

Ten years ago, I was injured in a car wreck while commuting to work. When a driver rear-ended my car, I hurt my back. Unfortunately, I had to undergo a couple of weeks of physical therapy. Even after receiving physical therapy, my back never felt as good as it did prior to the wreck. Have you been injured in a car wreck recently? Consider talking with an experienced accident and personal injury lawyer. This type of attorney can help you decide whether filing a lawsuit is your best course of action to take. On this blog, I hope you will discover the benefits of speaking with an accident and personal injury attorney soon after getting injured in a car wreck. Enjoy!