When a car accident occurs, it can prove essential to provide as much evidence as possible to establish who caused the accident. Identifying the liable party in an accident can make it easier to determine who deserves compensation for the accident and any associated injuries or damage to the two vehicles. In many cases, the insurance company may try to claim that both drivers contributed to the accident, which would reduce the compensation the insurance company has to pay out. The insurance company may even try to establish that its covered driver did not contribute to the accident at all.
Having dash cam footage can make a big difference as you file an insurance claim after an accident.
1. Dash cam footage can show exactly what error the other driver committed.
Dash cameras can only see in the direction they are pointed. Often, that means that they will provide only evidence of what happened right in front of the vehicle. However, in many cases, that can show that the other driver committed a clear act of negligence that led to the accident. For example, dash camera footage might show that the other driver clearly moved out of his assigned lane of traffic, causing an accident.
2. Dash cam footage can make it easier to establish the timing of an accident.
In many cases, determining who bears liability for an accident will come down to timing. For example, in an accident at an intersection with a red light, the driver that moved through the intersection after the light turned red will often bear liability for the accident. In an accident at an intersection without a red light, the dash cam footage might show the intersection clear before the vehicle moved into it, which might indicate that the liable driver ignored right of way and, ultimately, caused the accident.
3. Dash cam footage can help show information that human witnesses might miss.
Even the most diligent driver might not catch everything that takes place around him. Even a moment’s distraction can make it difficult for a driver to clearly determine what happened around him at the time of an accident. With dash cam footage, on the other hand, you have a clear record of anything that human witnesses might miss at the time of the accident.
4. A dash camera can provide better insight into your driving behavior.
Sometimes, the deeper benefit of a dash camera is in showing your overall driving patterns leading up to the accident. In many cases, for example, the insurance company might try to accuse you of speeding or of swerving across the road. Even if the dash camera does not pick up the accident directly, since the accident may not have occurred at the front of your vehicle, it may show that you followed all the rules of the road: traveling at a safe rate of speed, staying in your lane, and adhering to traffic signals. That evidence can help establish that the other driver must have committed the error that led to the accident.
5. Dash cameras cannot “forget” or lose track of information like human witnesses.
For human witnesses, car accidents can prove highly traumatic. Often, witnesses suffer from memory distortion that can make it difficult for them to speak accurately about everything that led to a car accident. As the party involved in a car accident, you may quickly forget the events that led up to it. In some cases, especially if you suffered any type of injury, you might not actually remember the car accident at all. Other witnesses, including those not directly involved in the accident, may have a trauma response that makes it difficult for them to remember exactly what led to the accident. The more time passes after the accident, the more difficult it can prove for witnesses to accurately report the events that led to the accident.
A dash camera, on the other hand, cannot “forget” those key memories. It will show the same events without distortion over and over again, as many times as necessary for insurance companies, lawyers, or even a judge and jury to review the footage and come to a decision about liability.
6. A dash cam may offer better insight into additional factors that may have contributed to the accident.
In the case of some types of car accidents, a dash camera may provide insight into other factors that may have contributed to the accident. For example, a dash cam might show evidence of an obstruction that made it difficult to fully see the road, or it might note the presence of an object in the road. In some cases, that evidence can help decrease your liability for an accident.
When a Dash Cam Doesn’t Help
While there are several circumstances under which a dash cam may prove highly beneficial after a car accident, there are many times when a dash cam simply will not provide the benefits you might have hoped for.
- Your negligence caused or contributed to the accident. If you engaged in dangerous, reckless, or careless behavior behind the wheel, from driving while distracted to speeding, your dash cam footage may serve as evidence against you.
- Sometimes, including cases in which an accident occurred on private property, you may not have the right to submit that dash cam footage as evidence.
- Your dash cam may not always see the events that led to the accident, which may decrease the effectiveness of that footage. For example, in a rear-end collision, your dash cam might not pick up anything.
In many cases, having dash cam footage can make a big difference in a car accident claim, especially in cases of disputed liability. Before you decide to submit dash cam footage as evidence, however, talk to your lawyer. Your lawyer can help you determine whether that footage will be beneficial to you and when to use it. A car accident lawyer can also help you collect other evidence that will help establish the other party’s liability in your car accident.