Can I Use Dashboard Camera Footage as Evidence to Prove Fault in a Crash?
Sometimes proving who caused an accident is difficult. Cases with questionable liability often require a more thorough investigation and more evidence. Video footage from a vehicle’s dashboard camera may be useful in these types of cases.
Below, we discuss the legality of dashboard cameras, how to recover the footage and how it may be helpful to your case.
Our experienced car crash lawyers in New Jersey know how to gather the necessary evidence to build a strong case for compensation. We offer a free legal consultation, and there are no upfront fees for our services.
Are Dashboard Cameras Legal in New Jersey?
Yes, dashboard cameras are legal in New Jersey. However, they must be installed properly. Dash cams that reduce visibility are not allowed, so where they are placed is important.
Generally, the camera must be near the windshield, but in an area where the driver’s view is not obstructed. State law requires any non-transparent objects to be mounted on the windshield or on the driver or passenger side window.
What Are the Rules for Obtaining Dash Cam Footage?
Video footage of any kind may be difficult to obtain in any type of accident case. Dash cam footage is no different. However, some dash cam footage may be easier to recover than others.
From Your Own Vehicle
If you have a dash cam in your own vehicle, recovering footage from the camera may not be difficult. Since the camera belongs to you, so does the footage it records.
You should be able to access your camera’s drive or memory card to review the footage. If your camera automatically overwrites old footage to make room for new videos, it is vital to get the recording off the camera and into a safe file on your computer or Cloud device as soon as possible.
Even if you think fault in the crash is obvious, you should take immediate steps to preserve any video evidence available from the moment the accident occurs.
From Someone Else’s Vehicle
Recovering the video footage from another person’s dash cam could be difficult, but not impossible. Your attorney could request the footage. However, without a subpoena, the at-fault party is under no legal obligation to hand it over.
New Jersey auto insurance laws make it more difficult to file a lawsuit when seeking compensation after an accident. If you have more than just a basic insurance policy, you should be able to sue the liable party. This means your attorney can formally request the dash cam video evidence during the process of discovery. In other words, the liable party would have a legal obligation to not only hand over the footage but also take the necessary steps to ensure any potential evidence in the case is preserved until the day of the trial.
From a Government-Owned Vehicle
If you were injured in an accident with a government-owned vehicle, recovering the dash cam footage might be more complicated than getting it from your own camera, but less difficult than getting it from a private party.
Government records are subject to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA). This means you have a right to review these records under the law. Your attorney can make a FOIA request with the appropriate municipal government body to recover the video footage.
There are some limits to FOIA, though, as the government must weigh public interest with security. If the government entity denies your FOIA request, your attorney may be able to file a lawsuit to force the release of the records.
How Can Dash Cam Footage Help My Case?
When fault for an accident is disputed by the involved parties, having visual evidence of the incident may be useful. This is where dash cams may be able to help prove your case.
Some scenarios when dash cam footage may help prove fault include the following:
- Sideswipe collisions – Dash cam video may show another vehicle switching, drifting or incorrectly merging into your lane.
- Single-vehicle accidents – If another driver swerves into your lane and causes you to crash your vehicle, the dash cam may be able to record the other vehicle’s license plate.
- Hit-and-run accidents – Your dash cam may also be able to record a hit-and-run vehicle’s identification.
- Multi-vehicle collisions – Video from the dash cam may be able to prove you are not at fault if you rear-ended another vehicle because your own vehicle was rear-ended.
If a driver ran a red light or a stop sign, but there is no footage from traffic cameras, dash cam footage may also be useful.
Do I Need Supporting Evidence?
Although video evidence is helpful when trying to solve a “he-said-she-said” dispute, it is usually used to support other strong evidence. In accident cases, it is not enough to prove someone caused a collision. You must also prove the accident directly resulted in your damages.
Therefore, dash cam footage should be used along with things like your medical records and testimony from your doctor.
Let Us Help. Call Today
If you were injured in a crash, but the liable party is disputing fault for the collision, dash cam footage could help prove fault. However, there are some factors to remember that could make it more difficult to win your case.
Our lawyers have decades of experience and the resources to investigate a claim and build a strong case for compensation.
Call 800-518-0508 to schedule a free consultation.