Can A Dashcam Help Your Car Accident Lawsuit?
In many car accidents, assigning fault can come down to one person’s word against another’s. Experts can sometimes observe the crash scene and damage to each car to extrapolate who was to blame for the accident, but in many cases the result is inconclusive and no one can be sure if one person was completely at fault or if both drivers share a portion of the blame. Witnesses can help, but there is no guarantee that a witness may be around, especially if the car accident took place in a remote location or late at night. But what if there was a witness who was always there?
Many people have started installing dashboard-mounted cameras in an effort to record what happened before they got into an accident. Since the dashcam is both a reliable and impartial observer, many people believe that it can help their case if there is a dispute about who was at fault for the accident. A dash cam can be helpful, but you should not rely on it exclusively. A car accident attorney can be just as useful since they can help you regardless of what the dashcam shows. They can help you get the compensation you need if the other driver really was at fault for the accident. So learn more about how an attorney can aid you with your car accident whether you have a dashcam or not.
How A Dashcam Can Help You
A dashcam constantly records what is happening in front of the vehicle as it drives so if the driver gets in an accident, there is almost guaranteed to be footage of what happened before, during, and after the accident. If the footage is clear enough, then there is a good chance that it can give observers a good idea of who was at fault for the accident. Since the dashcam is completely impartial, it can be even more useful than human witnesses.
That is because an opposing attorney can make arguments about the reliability of human witnesses and question what they saw. Even if the witness saw everything clearly, a lawyer can introduce doubt in the minds of the jury and sometimes even to the witness themself. There is little chance of that happening with a dashcam video since the footage does not lie. It will also likely have time stamps or metadata that shows when the accident occurred so that there is no doubt that the video shows what happened in the accident.
That can help immensely when it comes to your insurance settlement as the insurance company may accept your claim if there is clear evidence that the accident was not your fault. That is because a jury could find the dashcam footage damning for the other driver and the insurance company would consider that before choosing to accept or reject your claim. However, if the case ends up going to trial, the judge would have to decide if the jury is allowed to see the footage. But if there is video, then it is unlikely that the case would end up going to trial in the first place.
How A Dashcam Can Hurt You
Since a dashcam is a truly impartial witness, there is a chance that it could hurt you as well. That is because it shows not just the accident, but everything leading up to it as well. If you made any mistakes or ill-advised maneuvres prior to the accident, then the insurance company or the opposing attorney could argue that it contributed to the accident. Even if you think that the footage completely exonerates you, you can be certain that the insurance company will go over it with a fine-toothed comb to find out if you were even slightly at fault for the accident. If that is the case, then that footage could prove harmful to you and your claim.
There is also the fact that the dashcam footage may not offer any definitive proof of who was responsible for the accident. There could be a number of different reasons for this; maybe the footage was too dark or maybe it didn’t show the angle of impact clearly enough. Whatever the reason may be, unclear footage will not be particularly helpful to you since it just obfuscates things even further.
What To Consider When Buying A Dashcam
If you are a generally safe driver, then the benefits of having a dashcam outweigh the downsides. However, you should not just buy any dashcam you come across, just as how you make a careful consideration when buying other electronic devices like smartphones and televisions, the same goes for dashboard cameras. You should get a dashcam that has the following features:
- A lot of storage space. You do not want to worry about running out of room when an accident happens, so make sure to get a dashcam that can store at least a day's worth of footage.
- Loop recording. This means that the dashcam automatically overwrites old footage once storage gets full. That can save you the trouble of manually delisting old files all the time.
- High resolution. You want to make sure that the footage is legible to everyone who sees it and a dashcam that records in high resolution can help to ensure that. Dashcam footage in HD can help to highlight important details that can get lost in lower-resolution footage.
- High heat tolerance. Your dash cam is going to be in an enclosed area for hours at a time, so it should be able to withstand high temperatures without getting damaged.
- Motion detection. Many of the best dashboard cameras have a feature that allows them to automatically start recording when someone bumps into the car. That way you never have to worry about whether or not the dashcam is recording when someone hits your vehicle.
Those are the most basic features that any dashcam should have, but there are other features that are useful, though not necessary. Night vision can be very useful if you drive in low light conditions often. A parking mode is also helpful since the dashcam will continue recording even when the car is parked, so any person who damages your car and then leaves will be recorded.
A dashcam recorder with GPS can be helpful in pinpointing your exact location when an accident occurs. That can be helpful if your vehicle was knocked away during the accident because the GPS will show where the accident happened, not just where your car ended up.
Consult A Personal Injury Attorney Whether You Have A Dashcam Or Not
Regardless of whether you have a dashcam or not, you should seek the counsel of a personal injury attorney after you have been in a car accident. They can help you to get the compensation you need to cover your medical bills, repair bills, and lost wages whether you have footage of the accident or not. If you do have footage that proves the other driver was at fault for the accident, then your lawyer can put it to good use to make sure that you get a settlement claim. Footage of the accident is always useful, especially if it proves that you are innocent of any wrongdoing; but it is of little use without the support of an experienced personal injury attorney to back it up.