Can Footage From a Dashcam Help My Car Accident Claim?January 12, 2023
If you have ever been in a car accident, you know that the experience can be extremely stressful, particularly if you or any other passengers in your vehicle suffered any injuries. If the other driver involved in the accident was responsible for causing the collision, you will need to file a personal injury lawsuit in order to collect the financial compensation you deserve for your injuries, and well as any property damage that your vehicle sustained. One of the most important steps in the claims process is collecting evidence that will help prove that the other driver was negligent. While evidence like photos of the accident scene and witness testimonies can help establish what happened immediately following the accident, the footage from your vehicle’s dash cam can capture footage of what happened before, during, and after the accident. If you were involved in a car accident, a dedicated car accident lawyer can help you navigate the claims process and help you obtain the evidence you need to reach a successful claims outcome.
What Is a Dash Cam?
“Dash cam” is short for “dashboard camera,” which is a small video camera that is mounted onto your vehicle’s dashboard or windshield. Most dash cams record what is directly in front of you, although some higher-end models will also feature rear-facing video, record audio and video from inside the vehicle, and stream directly to the internet. They also feature a timestamp, so if the footage captures your vehicle getting sideswiped by another car, it will record the make, model, and license plate of the other vehicle, as well as the exact time that the accident occurred. Dash cams will also record the following information, which will help prove that the other driver was liable:
- You were following the speed limit.
- You were staying in your lane.
- You were hit by another driver on the right or left side.
- The other vehicle swerved into your lane and cut you off.
- The other driver apologized after the accident.
- The other driver appeared to be impaired by drugs or alcohol.
What Are the Main Benefits of Owning a Dash Cam?
Dash cams offer a wide range of features and benefits that may make it a worthwhile investment for your vehicle, including the following:
- Dash cams capture footage of car accidents, providing valuable evidence. This footage can be used to prove that the other driver was at fault, thus ensuring that your insurance premiums do not increase, and that you receive the financial compensation you deserve for any injuries or property damage you sustained. In addition, if a hit-and-run driver flees the scene of the accident, the dash cam footage will record the make, model, and license plate number of the vehicle as it drove off.
- Dash cam footage can be submitted to insurance companies. Oftentimes, car accidents come down to a he-said, she-said account of the accident. Dash cams that offer incident reports will help you prove that you were not responsible for causing the accident. Even if you were not involved in an accident, dash cam footage can be used to prove that you were not speeding if you were pulled over by a police officer. Some insurance companies offer discounts to customers who use dash cams. This will help you avoid a wrongfully issued ticket and ensure that your insurance rates are not increased.
- Dash cams can help prevent insurance fraud. It is an unfortunate reality that some motorists will intentionally cause a car accident and attempt to place the blame on the other driver in an effort to extort money from the target. Oftentimes, these drivers will look for owners of high-end vehicles, who are more likely to have more money. They will cause accidents that the innocent target will have a difficult, if not impossible time proving that they were not at fault. Following the accident, fraudsters often fake injuries like whiplash and back pain and may even demand financial compensation for their “pain and suffering.” If you have a dash cam in your vehicle, this will record all of the events leading up to the accident, which will help prevent scammers from extorting money from you.
- Dash cams help prevent reckless driving. Oftentimes, the mere presence of a dash can will prevent motorists from engaging in unsafe or irresponsible driving behavior. It is highly recommended that commercial vehicles are equipped with dash cams in order to manage drivers’ behavior and protect the fleet.
- Dash cams can help prevent break-ins and vandalism. Certain advanced dash cam models record and upload footage to the cloud, which may deter thieves if they see the dash cam. If your vehicle is broken into, the dash cam can provide footage of the break-in which you can share with police.
- Dash cams are great for parents of inexperienced teen drivers. If you have a teen driver and are concerned about distracted driving, speeding or other unsafe driving behaviors, dash cams record everything that takes place inside and outside the car, as well as the driving speed. If your teen driver is aware that their behavior behind the wheel is being recorded, they are more likely to drive safely and responsibly. Dash cams also come in handy if a friend or relative borrows your car on a regular basis. Aside from your home, your car is one of your most valuable assets, and having a dash cam in your vehicle will help protect that investment.
- Dash cams can protect your vehicle if it is damaged while it is parked. If your car is equipped with a dash cam, motion detectors will begin recording when it senses movement near your vehicle. This feature will record someone breaking into your vehicle, hitting your car while it is parked or intentionally causing damage to your car.
Are There Any Disadvantages to Owning a Dash Cam?
The main disadvantage to installing a dash cam in your vehicle is if you are involved in an accident that was your fault, dash cams do not take sides. They simply record the events that lead to the accident, including your actions that caused the crash. The insurance company will look for any reason to avoid paying a costly settlement, and damaging footage from your dash cam will likely ensure that you are held liable for the accident. Another minor disadvantage is that you may not be able to use dash cam footage that was recorded on private property or in a restricted area.
Are Dash Cams Legal in Every State?
Dash cams are legal in all 50 states, including Maryland, provided it does not obstruct the view through your windshield. However, some states have privacy laws that prevent dash cam footage from being used in certain situations. For example, in most states, only one person needs to provide consent for being recorded, whereas in other states – including Maryland – all parties that are being recorded must give consent. There are also regulations about how dash cams should be mounted. In Maryland, a suction cup may be used to mount your dash cam onto your windshield.
Should I Install a Dash Cam in My Vehicle?
Ultimately, the decision to purchase and install a dash cam is entirely up to you. However, there are considerably more benefits to owning a dash cam than disadvantages, particularly if you have a history of being a safe and responsible driver. If you are in an accident that was caused by another motorist, and the other driver claims that you are partially or totally at fault, or if you are not being offered the financial settlement that you think you deserve, dash cam footage will help prove that the other driver was responsible for causing the accident.
Whether you own a dash cam or not, it is highly recommended that you contact an experienced car accident lawyer if you are involved in a car accident. They will closely examine all of the evidence, including dash cam footage if it is available. Do not share any of your dash cam footage with your insurance company, law enforcement or the other parties involved in the accident until your car accident lawyer has had the opportunity to review it. Maryland is a contributory negligence state, which means that you cannot collect any damages if you are found to have played even a small part in causing the accident.
Baltimore Car Accident Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Assist Clients with Car Accident Claims
If you or someone you know was injured in a car accident, it is in your best interest to contact the Baltimore car accident lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton as soon as possible. Our dedicated legal team will walk you through every step of the claims process, ensure that your legal rights are protected and assist you with the process of collecting the evidence necessary to prove that the other driver was negligent, including obtaining footage from your dash cam. To schedule a free, confidential consultation, call us today at 800-547-4LAW (4529) or contact us online.
We have offices in Baltimore, Glen Burnie, and Prince George’s County, allowing us to represent clients in Maryland, including those in Anne Arundel County, Baltimore County, Carroll County, Harford County, Howard County, Montgomery County, Maryland’s Western Counties, Prince George’s County, Queen Anne’s County, Southern Maryland, and the Eastern Shore, as well as the communities of Catonsville, Essex, Halethorpe, Middle River, Rosedale, Gwynn Oak, Brooklandville, Dundalk, Pikesville, Nottingham, Windsor Mill, Lutherville, Timonium, Sparrows Point, Ridgewood, and Elkridge.