Nowadays, most drivers spend the extra buck to get a dashcam in the hope that it will act as a witness in case of a car accident. In a close call, many feel that a camera can help identify at-fault parties in a collision during low visibility, bad weather conditions, or when someone ran a red light. Some cameras can identify faults in a rear-end collision, like a rearview mirror that records. But can dashcam evidence be used in your car accident claim? Let’s find out with Ehline Law and our car accident attorneys in Los Angeles about dashcam impact under California state law.
There are certain public places where individuals cannot record others without their consent which leads many to believe that the use of dashcams may not be entirely legal. Sometimes you have to rely on the reliable testimony of those present during the stress and excitement of a bad crash with insight into the scenario.
On the contrary, installing a dashcam in vehicles across all 50 states is completely legal. However, since recorded dashcam footage is a form of surveillance, state laws may affect how you use the captured videos.
States with wiretapping laws may prevent how an individual may be able to use dashcam footage for legal purposes. Most dash cams record what is happening outside the car. But some may also record the activity evidence in your car and the conversations between passengers.
Recorded footage of what is happening inside the car can give the judge or jury enough information on what happened before the car accident. A dash cam video can help determine the liability and cause of the accident.
Uber, Lyft, and other ride-sharing platforms require drivers to install dashcams, but they also follow state laws with respect to nanny state ordinances. In states where drivers can record inside the vehicle with a dash cam video, they must let the passenger know about it before proceeding with the journey.
There are also placement restrictions that vary from state to state. Before installing a dashcam, it is essential for the vehicle owner to read up on their state laws and comply with them to avoid legal complications if a traffic accident occurred.
Under California Vehicle Code § 26708, vehicle owners have the right to install a dashcam in their vehicles, but it is critical to comply with the state dashcam mounting laws.
The law requires vehicle owners to install dash cams away from the airbag deployment area and according to any one of the following placement settings:
Some dashcams come with an audio recording feature; if your dashcam has one, it is essential to let the passengers know about it. In case they do not want to be recorded, the driver must turn off the audio recording. Typically, the police report, if any can reference this dashboard camera evidence in your car to help resolve your insurance claim and stay out of a personal injury lawsuit if the video shows who is liable, such as the vehicle traveled ahead in the traffic lane. So dashboard-mounted video cameras might be the key to proving liability and avoiding a lawsuit for many traffic accidents if a crash happened.
When you suffer injuries in a car accident, you must provide evidence to establish the critical elements of a car accident claim. In some car accident cases, it is clear who the liable party is, but in others, it may be challenging to identify the at-fault party.
A dash cam video footage can help the insurance company determine the liable party and the cause of the incident, proving to be a piece of invaluable evidence. so a dashboard mounted camera can make or break a case in most states. including CA.
However, in some instances, most people may not be able to use dashcam footage as evidence. For example, you cannot use dashcam footage recorded on private property or in a restricted area as evidence, no matter how aware the footage is in proving blame in your dispute.
There is also a possibility that the dashcam footage may prove that you were at fault for the car accident or contributed to the crash. In such situations, providing dashcam evidence can hurt your car accident case.
California follows the comparative negligence rule, which allows injured victims to recover compensation for the damages incurred following a car accident, even if they’re partially responsible. However, the amount they can obtain depends on their degree of fault.
Under California’s comparative negligence rule, dash cam evidence can decrease the plaintiff’s settlement or verdict as the footage may show proof of your fault.
For example, dash cam footage may indicate that the other driver made an illegal turn, but it may also capture a baby’s crying. In such situations, the defendant’s attorney may argue that the crying caused a distraction which led to the car accident.
Accident victims can use dashcam evidence, like any other picture or video submitted, to prove liability. But like any other evidence, dash cam evidence is subjective, meaning experts may have different interpretations about what they see in the footage.
When an accident occurs, police officers often try to reconstruct the incident by talking to witnesses, the drivers involved, the vehicle damage, and any skid marks on the road. Insurance companies may also send their investigation team to gather evidence to reconstruct the accident that caused your losses in a difficult-to-prove case.
In most cases, dash cam evidence can be valuable when pursuing a car accident claim as it can help reveal moments that lead to an accident. However, it is essential to note that the usefulness of the dashcam recording depends on the quality of the footage and the dashcam. The clear video footage could mean the difference between hundreds of millions or far less, in a grainy factual situation against the other driver.
A budget dash cam may not offer clear dash cam footage or a wide angle to determine important car accident details to prove whether it was you or the pedestrian at fault in the intersection, for example. On the other hand, a good quality dash cam may capture vital information and provide crystal-quality footage of the incident if you were struck, allowing insurance companies and other parties to determine liability over speeding, drugs, or other causes like alcohol-related crashes.
There are certain situations where dash cam footage can help hold the negligent party responsible, and some of these include:
Although dashcam video footage may help determine liability and provide strong evidence in your car accident claim, some insurance companies may not accept it as evidence, while others may interpret it in a way that holds you liable for the car accident.
In such situations, you may receive a lower settlement offer or even face a claim denial. Discussing your car accident claim with an experienced car accident lawyer is essential to increase your chances of recovering maximum compensation.
We can help gather other forms of evidence, handle the insurance company and negotiate fair compensation for your loss. Our superior, expert accident attorneys will stop at nothing to get you paid the most for your tragic situation. The other driver’s insurance company knows that car crashes are our expertise. Call us to discuss your legal options today, as the insurance company may be playing games in your wreck.
With our helpful legal support, you can clobber the distracted driver and any other person at fault for causing your harm and malaise. If you, or your beloved child or another family member, suffered injuries in a car accident due to another’s negligence, contact us at (833) LETS-SUE for a free consultation with our experienced car accident lawyers. After our review, you will be in a position to know if it’s in your best interest to pursue your case under the circumstances. After, we will hold the insurance adjuster to account for causing your terrible situation.
Michael is a managing partner at the nationwide Ehline Law Firm, Personal Injury Attorneys, APLC. He’s an inactive Marine and became a lawyer in the California State Bar Law Office Study Program, later receiving his J.D. from UWLA School of Law. Michael has won some of the world’s largest motorcycle accident settlements.