Proving that you were not at-fault in a car accident can be difficult. But with video evidence, going to bat with insurance companies and other legal teams can be much easier.
What is a Dash Cam?
A dash cam, short for “dashboard camera”, is a small video camera mounted on your vehicle’s dashboard or front windshield. It will typically record whenever the vehicle is in gear to drive. Some of the more advanced models provide rear-facing video, as well as video and audio recording of the vehicle’s interior. Depending on the size of their memory cards, dash cams can store up to dozens of hours of recordings. The average dash cam will usually record up to 10-15 minutes of footage before overwriting itself. In most cases, a 10-15 minute window is plenty of time to capture footage of an accident.
What Exactly Does a Cash Cam Capture?
Having clear footage before, during, and after an accident can help prove your case. With a date and timestamp embedded in the recordings, clear dash cam footage is virtually impossible to dispute. A dash cam is very beneficial for capturing the following:
- The make, color, and license plate of the liable party’s vehicle
- Your driving (staying in your lane, driving the right speed, etc.)
- The liable party’s driving (swerving, speeding, or any negligent behavior)
- What happened after the crash (any hostile actions, driver impairment, etc.)
Although it may not be able to capture every detail of the crash, a dash cam can provide irrefutable evidence in many car accident cases. However, if your driving caused the accident and you refuse to release the footage, it could be obtained by the opposing party via a court order and used against you.
Can Dash Cam Footage Be Used in Court?
In some cases, dash cam video can be enough for an insurance company to settle a claim without ever putting up a fight in court. If your case does end up in court, compelling footage can have a powerful effect on the judge and jury in your favor. This is especially true if the entire incident is captured in clear quality. However, there are times when simply having a dash cam will not be enough to help your case, such as when:
- The video is too grainy or poor quality
- The lighting is too dark (nighttime, in a closed structure, etc.)
- Inclement weather occurs (fog, rain, etc.)
If your case does make it to trial, you can bet that the opposing insurance company will nitpick everything about your footage in order to place the blame on you. For example, if you changed multiple lanes quickly right before being sideswiped, they may point that out as unsafe driving behavior. Or if audio captures the inside of your car blasting loud music, the opposition may argue that as distracted driving.
How Do I Know My Footage is Admissible?
As stated, there are certain conditions that render dash cam footage ineffective as evidence in your case. But if the video is clear, unaltered, and shows the other driver at fault, it will significantly help your case. If you are unsure whether your dash cam recording is enough to prove your case, it is best to discuss the details with a personal injury lawyer specializing in car accident cases. An attorney can help you with collecting evidence, evaluating your dash cam footage, submitting it as evidence, and using it to back up your case in a compelling manner.