Recovering compensation for an injury after a traffic accident requires evidence of negligence. Often, this evidence comes as video recordings of the accident and its aftermath.
You can use dashcam footage or traffic cam footage in your car accident claim in various ways. While this evidence is useful at trial, it could also be used during the settlement negotiation process. A Dallas car accident lawyer could help you find valuable footage and make the most of it during your injury case.
What Can Video Evidence Prove About My Car Accident?
In many cases, video recordings represent the best possible evidence in a car accident injury case. Human recollections—even those of neutral witnesses—can be wrong or fade over time. Video evidence is neutral, unbiased, and unchanging. Letting a judge or jury watch the accident unfold is one of the best possible ways to get justice in a personal injury case. Some of the things a video could establish include:
Was the Traffic Light Red or Green?
One of the important things that traffic cameras in an intersection can establish is whether a driver had a green light when they struck another driver. Drivers who run red lights are at fault for the accidents they cause. However, this fact is often disputed, with both drivers claiming they had a green light when struck. Traffic or dash camera footage could answer questions about who had the right-of-way.
Who Had the Right-of-Way?
The right-of-way is a critical factor as it can determine who’s at fault in an accident. When drivers have the right-of-way, they are entitled to be in that space or lane instead of another motorist. When a driver violates the right-of-way and collides with a motorist, they are at fault. Traffic camera video could establish that a driver crossed over the center line of a highway before colliding with a driver in that traffic lane.
In cases where there is shared fault between motorists, each can pursue damages, but they must prove their share is no more than 50 percent under Texas Civil Practice and Remedies Code § 33.001. If it is, they cannot recover damages, even if video footage shows they had the right-of-way.
How Fast Was Everyone Driving?
Speeding often plays a major role in passenger car accidents. However, many witnesses cannot give a clear perspective on how fast these vehicles were traveling. Traffic or dash camera footage could clear up if one or both drivers were traveling at unsafe speeds when the crash occurred.
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There Are Downsides to Using Dashcam Recordings and Traffic Camera Footage
Of course, video evidence is not infallible. It is only valuable when it captures all the details of a crash and when the video’s quality makes the collision clearly visible.
The reality in many cases is these cameras do not always record all the important details of a crash. When it comes to cameras mounted in intersections, the video footage does not always capture what occurred at the accident scene before the crash occurred. The drivers’ actions before the collision are important, but the video might not record them.
Likewise, a dash camera’s field of view also offers a limited perspective. This video only records what is directly in front of a car in most cases. The video’s value is diminished when the collision involves a part of the car other than the front end.
When these details are left out of the video, it can leave the evidence up to the interpretation of whoever is watching it. This ultimately comes back to the same position where a judge or jury must believe the word of one of the motorists involved in the crash.
Obtaining Dash Camera Footage
Dash cameras are generally the vehicle owner’s property. Usually, owners install and operate them, and the videos recorded with these devices can be some of the strongest possible evidence following a crash.
Because these videos are private property, securing a copy usually requires asking the owner for one. However, the court could compel a driver to turn over the video if they are a party to the lawsuit. For example, you could subpoena the other driver’s videos if they had a camera running during the crash.
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Recovering Traffic Camera Footage for a Car Accident Claim
Are you unsure how to get traffic camera footage of your car accident in Texas? The good news is you have various options. However, you must move quickly, given that this footage is not kept forever.
First and foremost, you should determine if the video recorded your accident. Traffic cameras are prevalent throughout Texas, but some intersections and streets do not have traffic camera coverage.
After you determine if a traffic camera was present, the next step is to find the owner. Typically, local municipalities or the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) monitor the traffic cameras affixed at intersections. However, private cameras might record an accident in some areas.
No matter who owns the camera, recovering copies of the video usually requires requesting them. Private parties have no legal obligation to provide you with the footage, but the government will typically turn over the recording if it still has it.
Hiring a Lawyer Could Help You Obtain Camera Footage for a Car Accident Claim
If you were injured in a car accident, proving the other driver was at fault is not always easy. Video evidence of the accident, as it happened, could be some of the most valuable evidence available that proves your case.
Loncar Lyon Jenkins will work to locate and recover video footage of your car accident. We can also act quickly to secure copies of the footage to determine if it can help your case. Contact us today for a free consultation to learn how our firm can build your case for financial recovery and hold the negligent party accountable for your losses.