Have you ever been injured in an accident that was captured by a dashcam? If so, there are three things to consider in regards to your personal injury claim against the driver at fault. First, keep the video quality and audio capabilities of the dashcam in mind. Second, know that you can use dashcam footage to prove or disprove fault after an accident. And third, recognize that a dashcam serves as an objective witness, which has both pros and cons depending on the specifics of your case.
Video Quality and Audio Capabilities
If the dashcam video quality is less than 1080p, it can be difficult or impossible to make out important information such as license plate numbers or facial features. If the quality is lower, it can still be used to defend your actions, but might not be effective at proving the actions of the at-fault party.
Dashcam audio can be nice to have in some situations. For example, it may capture what the other motorist says to you after the accident. If they admit fault on video, that will be an immense help to your case. It can also capture something you or a passenger in your vehicle said prior to the crash, which can prove your frame of mind — such as that you were paying attention to the road.
However, dashcam audio can also be a liability. Pennsylvania is a two-party consent state when it comes to audio recordings. This means that if your dashcam records audio within your vehicle, you will need to inform any passengers in your vehicle that they are being recorded. Failure to do so could render your dashcam evidence unusable in your case.
What Does Dashcam Evidence Do?
There are two primary uses for dashcams in personal injury cases. They can prove that the other motorist was at fault and they can disprove that you were at fault.
A dashcam can catch another motorist causing the crash that led to your injuries. It may show them cut you off, swerve into your lane, or run through a stop sign or red light. Video evidence of such actions is vital to the integrity of your case because some people will act like they have no idea what caused the accident despite it being obvious that it was their actions.
If you have footage of their negligent or reckless behavior, it will be difficult for them to argue that they were not the cause of your injuries.
On the other hand, a dashcam can also prove that you were not the one at fault in the accident. The other motorist may attempt to claim that you drifted into their lane, stopped suddenly and without warning, or ran through a stop sign or red light. If they make such claims, you have footage to refute them. Dashcams are invaluable if the other party attempts to turn the narrative of the crash around.
Dashcam video evidence can eliminate the “he-said, she-said” aspect of many car accident cases. The video does not lie.
Objective “Witness” for Comparative Negligence
It does not matter who the dashcam that is being used as evidence in your case belongs to. It can be yours, that of another motorist, or even that of the driver whose vehicle you are a passenger in. The footage serves as an objective “witness” of events that doesn’t choose sides. It simply lays out the facts of the situation as it captures them.
As discussed, it can be used to prove either fault or innocence in a personal injury case. But this is especially important in Pennsylvania due to something called comparative negligence. In Pennsylvania, if you are 51% or more at fault for the accident that caused your injury, you will be barred from receiving compensation. Your compensation is also reduced by the percentage of fault that is attributed to you if it is 50% or less.
What this means is that if you win $100,000 after your case goes to trial, but you were found to be 10% at fault for the accident, you would only receive $90,000 of that reward. And, this is where the primary downside of dashcams can come in. The dashcam may very well depict you doing something that attributes a portion of the fault to you. For this reason, it is always a good idea to go over the footage from your dashcam with an attorney before providing it to law enforcement. This will give you and your attorney a chance to prepare based on what the footage shows.
Dashcam Evidence can Help Your Claim
If you have been injured in a car accident and one of the vehicles had a dashcam recording during the crash, that footage can be used as evidence to support your injury case. The better the video quality, the more useful the footage will generally be because it can pick up more detail, such as license plate numbers.
This evidence can help your case in two main ways. It can prove that the other motorist involved in the accident was at fault and it can prove that you were not at fault. But, because the video serves as an objective “witness,” it may also result in your compensation being reduced if you are found to be partially at fault.
Donaghue & Labrum Trial Lawyers
Whether or not a dashcam plays a role in your car accident injury case, the best thing you can do is hire an experienced attorney. A car accident lawyer can help gather evidence — including dashcam evidence — to support your claim for compensation. Contact the trial lawyers at Donaghue & Labrum today for a free consultation regarding your case.