Many car accident claims can end up in a dispute about who was to blame for an accident. If there were no witnesses around and the police don’t show up, it can be hard proving who was at fault after a crash, even if you are sure you weren’t to blame. It may seem a bit over the top mounting a dashcam somewhere on your car and turning it on every time you set out, but it can be a really useful tool in the event of difficulties in proving liability.
What is a dashcam?
A dashcam is short for “dashboard camera.” Dashcams have apparently becoming more and more popular in recent years, although not just to catch a crash in action. Similar simple video cameras are often used in action and adventure sports like skiing, motorcycling sports, parachuting etc. just to record the thrill of the sport. They have also become widely used on police cars to avoid disputes with drivers in the event of an inspection or when a driver is stopped for questioning.
Dashcams work like rear vision cameras that have become almost standard features on most autos these days, only are designed to record what is happening in front of you, rather than what is happening behind you. They may be mounted on the dashboard, the windshield, on top of the car or the side, depending on the model. Like some GPSs they may automatically start monitoring and recording what is in view as soon as you start the engine, or when in motion.
Dashcams are neutral and have no ‘loyalty’ to you
Don’t expect a dashcam to ‘prove’ that the other driver was always at fault. All they do is record what they see. If you swerve all over the highway, make dangerous lane changes, drive too fast, or too close to the vehicle in front, then they may record exactly all that sort of driving behavior. Equally, if you are hit by another driver and you were not at fault, then this may be recorded b your own dashcam and the recording could prove valuable evidence.
How a dashcam can help you prove liability
The dashcam, as long as it is in recording mode and is not damaged in a crash, can record valuable information in the event of a crash. For example, it can record:
- The make, color and license plates of the vehicle that hit you. This is particularly valuable if you are hit by another driver who fails to stop, a “hit and run” accident. Unless there is convincing evidence for police to work on, it can be difficult finding a hit and run driver.
- The speed and movements of the other vehicle before and during the crash. For example, if the other vehicle was across the center line, driving erratically or too fast.
- Whether the driver of the other vehicle was concentrating just before the accident. Distracted driving has become one of the most common causes of car accidents, especially with the widespread use of mobile devices.
- Whether you were hit by a vehicle at an intersection that ran a red light or failed to yield the right of way.
- Whether you were driving correctly, i.e. not above the speed limit, paying attention to other traffic around you, responding normally to driving conditions.
- How the other driver communicated with you, e.g. whether he/she prompted an apology; became hostile, uncooperative, etc.
Dashcams are not foolproof
While a good quality dashcam can provide very useful evidence, it is certainly not foolproof. For example, if you are hit by a vehicle from the rear or the side, it may not ‘see’ what happened, although it may record some of the action after the crash. Insurance companies don’t always have a clear policy on how to respond to dashcam video footage. In general, it must be anticipated that the defendant’s insurer will do what they can to discredit any evidence that counts against their client, whatever the form of evidence you have, unless it is very convincing. It is certainly worthwhile letting your car accident attorney have access to the dashcam recording, together with any other evidence you have available, such as a police report, eyewitness statements, any other still photos you may have taken etc.
Always use an experienced car accident attorney to help you with a claim
The best advice after any car accident for which you were not to blame is to talk to a car accident attorney about your accident and discuss your legal options and how the attorney can help. In Jackson, contact the Diaz Law Firm for expert advice and representation. You can call the office to make an appointment at 601-607-3456.