Evidence of a car crash is critical for proving or disproving fault in a personal injury case. Evidence is used to determine fault, that is, whose negligence caused a car accident. In addition, evidence proves the extent of physical injuries to people and damage to the cars involved. The person who seeks damages from another driver has the burden of proving negligence and other elements of a case.
There may be several forms of evidence that are available in a car crash accident. These can include:
- Video footage of the accident, taken by the parties or witnesses;
- Photographs of the crash scene;
- Physical evidence at the crash site, such as skid marks, broken car parts, paint, and other debris;
- Witness testimony, including the testimony of the drivers and passengers, if any; and
- Police reports of the accident investigation – it is important to call the police to the scene of a car accident so that the police can make a report. The report is important in showing who is at fault.
While a person may be disoriented after a car accident, they should try to collect certain elements of evidence if possible. For example, a person should call the police in order to get a police report. They should collect all contact and insurance information from other drivers. They should collect contact information from any witnesses. They should photograph the scene as well.
A car crash video can be powerful evidence. It can have a huge effect on people who might make decisions about your case to see how it happened in real life. A good video of the damage to a victim’s car can help others appreciate the extent of the damage. It is well worth the time it might take to produce a video.
Of course, to be effective, the video must be of good quality. Therefore, a person should invest in a dash cam that offers high-quality resolution so every detail is visible. Some dash cams have a looping feature so it records over old video. This can be advantageous as the owner of the camera does not have to delete video periodically. On the other hand, a person who records a car crash wants to be sure to preserve the video. If a person has a dash cam, they would want to make sure they know if their camera has a looping feature and if so, take steps to preserve a crash video after a crash.
What is a Car Crash Video?
“Car crash video” refers to video footage that is captured in connection with a car accident. In many cases, it can include video footage of the car crash while it is happening such as footage from a dashboard camera.
Or, it can be footage taken by bystanders, such as when witnesses record the crash using their cell phone cameras. A driver can also take video footage of the crash damage and injuries after the crash has already occurred.
A fortunate driver may be able to use their smartphone to take video immediately after the crash happens. This may not be possible when the driver is injured. Other sources of video may come from:
- Private Surveillance Cameras: a driver may be able to obtain footage of the crash from private surveillance cameras installed around the street where the accident happens. It can sometimes require asking the businesses that owns the cameras for footage from the time of the incident.
- Traffic Light Cameras: if the other driver ran a red light, it may be caught on a red light camera. The camera can also prove if the other driver was speeding. Most jurisdictions keep the video for about a month.
- In-Car Cameras: some vehicles have built-in cameras. Sometimes, drivers will have dashboard cameras in their vehicles. Both will document some, if not all, of the car accident.
Once a person has collected video evidence, it becomes important to keep it in a location where it can be easily located when needed. It can take a long time, even years, for a claim to be pursued through to completion and payment of damages, especially if the accident was serious. So a person who has important video evidence wants to keep it in a safe place and store it in such a way as to preserve it for future use.
How Do I Request Video Footage of the Crash?
When trying to obtain video footage of a car crash, a person may have to:
- Ask: Some people and businesses will provide a person with video footage if they simply make a request for it.
- Submit Forms: A person may have to complete a form to receive a copy of the video.
- Subpoena: A person can sometimes petition the court to issue a subpoena demanding a copy of the video.
A business or individual may ask the person who wants video footage from their cameras to pay the costs of making a copy or locating the footage for a specific day and time. A person who wants footage should be prepared to reimburse the provider for their costs.
In certain cases where video of the crash is not available, the court will accept other forms of evidence during the trial, of course. Dash cam video is only one type of evidence; there are others.
For instance, in highly complex car crash cases, accident reconstruction techniques may be used to recreate the way the accident occurred. An accident reconstruction expert may develop computer-generated videos and other similar technology.
Video evidence is not only important for figuring out who is at fault in causing the crash. Video evidence of the damage to the cars involved can also contribute valuable information about the extent of damage.
Video evidence can also be important in documenting the extent of injuries suffered by the driver who is not at fault and seeks compensation. If the driver who is not at fault suffers serious injuries or injuries that become permanent, they may want to produce a video that documents how injuries suffered in the accident have affected their life. This type of video evidence can be important as evidence for a claim for pain and suffering.
Should I Contact an Attorney about Obtaining Car Crash Video?
Car accident claims can be complex and may require the use of videos in order to prove fault in a case. If you have been affected by a car accident, you should meet with an experienced car accident attorney about working on your case. How to manage the different kinds of evidence and put each kind to best use is something an experienced car accident attorney can do best.
It is a good idea to discuss the evidence in your case with your lawyer. You want to help ensure that every possible kind of evidence has been sought. If you have collected important evidence, take steps to store it in a safe place. Make sure your lawyer knows you have it. Or, it might be best for your lawyer to store it.
An attorney can provide you with guidance in obtaining a video and can represent you during trial as well. An experienced car accident lawyer should be able to help locate the best evidence and use it most effectively.