Can A Dash-Cam Really Help In A Car Crash Lawsuit?
Everyone likes to think that they drive responsibly on the road, and for most drivers in Florida, that’s absolutely true. Getting a driving license means having passed the minimum standards required for controlling an automobile and maintaining situational awareness of road conditions. But even when someone is driving responsibly, that doesn’t mean that a 100% safe driving experience is guaranteed.
There are plenty of factors that can lead to a traffic accident. Someone making a poor judgment call and deciding to drive while tired may experience lower-than-normal reaction times. Some portions of Florida road are poorly constructed, and so faulty road conditions may lead to a mishap. And of course, while a person may be in complete control of his or her vehicle, there’s no accounting for the level of skill and attentiveness of other drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians like children.
This is one of the reasons why, for modern drivers, it’s always a good precaution to consider buying, installing and using a “dash cam.” If you’re not familiar with this concept, we’ll explain.
The Unblinking Eye
The “dash-cam” is the nickname for a device known as a “dashboard camera.” This is a modern, digital video camera, capable of recording hours of footage. Like all modern cameras, it is very small, but packs a lot of power, capable of recording images in high definition, for clear, crisp imagery. More high end models even have good “night vision” capabilities so they are capable of capturing clear footage even after the sun has gone down, and other cameras would struggle with street lighting.
Dash cams are mounted a variety of ways on cars. Some of them sit on the dashboard of the car, as the name implies, while others go on the windshield, or even the rear view mirror. Some dash cams come in a pair, with one dash-cam lens pointed out at the front of the car to record traffic activity, while another is aimed at the rear of the car, either to record rear road activity, or, in some cases, passenger behavior.
Why It Matters
A dash cam can be a crucial piece of modern car technology for one very important reason; evidence collection. In the event of an accident, one of the first things that will need to be determined for both insurance and legal purposes is who is at fault in the accident. Whether multiple people are at fault, or only the driver is responsible, the key factor will be whether there is evidence to support the assignment of fault to one person or another.
Prior to the spread of dashboard cameras, determining fault was usually reliant on two immediate sources; eye-witness account, and driver testimony. Physical evidence could, of course, also play a role but that would involve the participation of experts such as forensic analysts, or accident reconstruction experts to piece together what happened after the fact.
If there were no eye-witnesses at the scene, then police and insurance agencies are forced to rely on the honesty, and accuracy of participant testimonial. In the worst case scenarios, a driver will deliberately lie in order to avoid blame. But even in the best case scenarios, with participants trying to answer as honestly as they can, the speed with which an accident occurs, and where a driver’s attention was at the time can all contribute to a less than precise account.
With a dash cam installed and properly running, something is dutifully recording all forward traffic activity at every moment you are on the road. In some cases, dash cams may even be tied to motion sensors, so even when a car is parked, if someone walks past the vehicle and decides to deface it—or someone parking makes an error, causing a minor fender-bender—that act is preserved.
This means that if there’s any question at all of what happened, what the sequence of events were, or even what time the accident took place at, there is surveillance footage available to view. And that footage is admissible as evidence if a case needs to go to court. Raw, unedited dash cam footage is always going to trump an eye-witness testimony because while memory may be faulty, a camera recording is not.
If you find yourself in a situation where you’ve been in a car accident, and the other driver is claiming that you’re at fault, even though you know you’re not, the dash cam may be the crucial piece of evidence that not only saves you from fending off a false lawsuit, it may even open up the accuser to a lawsuit if the footage supports your claim that that other driver as at fault.
If you’re in a car accident and you think you want to go to court, talk to an experienced auto accident attorney about your legal options.