Car accidents can happen in the blink of an eye. One moment you’re driving down the street or patiently waiting at a stoplight, and the next your whole life may change. If you live in an at-fault state, figuring out who caused your car accident is instrumental in getting the compensation you’re entitled to for your medical bills, damage to your vehicle, lost wages, and more.
Of course, establishing liability can be a difficult task. If there are no witnesses, witnesses give conflicting accounts, or the accident can’t be adequately reconstructed from vehicle damage or photographs, there may be serious questions as to which driver(s) are responsible for damages.
With business CCTV recordings and traffic cameras becoming more commonplace, obtaining your car accident footage is an excellent way to prove negligence and establish fault. Accessing this footage isn’t always easy, though. Read on to find out how Lerner and Rowe Injury Attorneys can retrieve camera footage of your crash—and help you get the settlement you deserve.
Where to Look for Video Footage of Your Car Accident
In this day and age, there are many potential sources of car accident footage. You just have to know where to look and who to ask. Take a look at the list below for possible ways your car crash may have been captured on video.
- Red Light Cameras. In certain states, including Alabama, Arizona, Illinois, Tennessee, and Washington, law enforcement agencies may utilize red light cameras to catch red light runners and reduce accidents.
- Speed Cameras. Some states, including Alabama, Arizona, Illinois, New Mexico, Tennessee, and Washington also utilize speed cameras to catch and deter speeding drivers.
- Private Traffic Cameras. It may come as a surprise that many traffic cameras are not owned by local governments, but rather by private companies. Private traffic cameras may be installed by local news stations to monitor traffic conditions, for example. Some HOAs also use private traffic cams in neighborhoods.
- Security Cameras. Many businesses now have security cameras in and outside the premises. If your accident occurred on a street lined with businesses, there’s a chance they may have your car accident footage on file. If the accident occurred in a residential area, a neighbor with security cameras may also have video of the crash.
- Dash Cams. More and more drivers are outfitting their vehicles with dashboard cameras to protect themselves in case of an accident. Some newer cars even have advanced built-in driver assist features that utilize cameras. These cameras show multiple angles of the car and can be recorded onto a flash driver or a car’s built-in memory. Unlike dash cams that typically record the front and/or back of a vehicle, these cameras also record the side of the car. In cases where a car has been struck from the side, the footage from driver assist cameras can be invaluable. Even if your car doesn’t have a dash cam, there’s a chance that someone who saw your car accident does—yet another reason why witnesses can prove to be an invaluable tool in the personal injury claim process.
Requesting Access to Car Accident Footage
In some cases, asking for a copy of your car accident footage is as simple as calling a business or homeowner and asking for permission. Other times, though, there can be multiple roadblocks along the way. Although it might not always be quick and easy, a little persistence and patience can go a long way towards obtaining the footage, strengthening your case, and ultimately securing the maximum settlement possible for your injuries.
If the Accident Occurred Near a Traffic Camera
If you were in an intersection accident, specifically a busy one with a stoplight, there’s a chance that a government or private traffic camera captured footage of the crash. Most people don’t think to look for traffic cameras immediately after an accident (or are too incapacitated to do so). You may be able to save yourself a trip back to the scene of the accident by looking up the intersection on Google Street View to see if there are any cameras mounted at the intersection.
If the camera is owned by a private company such as a local news station, you can reach out to them directly with the address, date, and time of the crash to see if they will provide you with a copy of the car accident footage. However, note that as a private company, they are not obligated to release the footage to you.
If the camera is owned by the government, you’ll need to request the footage through a more formal process called a subpoena. Because some cameras only retain video footage for several days, time is of the essence. Contacting a car accident lawyer in your city as soon as possible after a crash can help get the ball rolling.
If the Accident Occurred Near a Business
If your accident occurred on a street lined with one or more businesses, surveillance cameras may have recorded your accident. As previously mentioned, private businesses are under no obligation to release footage to you, but you can certainly contact them and ask for it. Many won’t simply because they don’t have the time or manpower to review and locate the correct footage. Other times, surveillance cameras may not be recording 24/7, or the content may be erased periodically.
If the Accident Occurred in a Residential Area
If you were involved in a car, motorcycle, bicycle, or pedestrian accident in a residential neighborhood, either a neighbor or the neighborhood’s HOA may have captured photo or video footage of the accident. If possible, return to the area the accident occurred in and talk with neighbors who may have security cameras installed in their driveways or in front of their homes. Ideally, you would talk to neighbors who may have also witnessed the accident the same day, but returning after the fact may still prove fruitful.
How an Attorney Can Help You Find Crash Footage
Unless you’ve done it before, trying to track down and obtain accident footage can be a confusing and frustrating project to undertake on your own. If you were seriously injured, you may not have the time, resources, or ability to go searching for your car accident footage from private businesses, local governments, or witnesses.
An experienced car accident attorney has the advantage of having already helped many clients obtain footage of a collision captured by a variety of cameras. They also understand how to subpoena video recordings from government agencies and may even have an established rapport with owners of private traffic cameras due to the very nature of their work helping accident victims.
A truly exceptional lawyer will go the extra mile by obtaining a copy of the official police report of the accident, which may also include supporting evidence such as accident scene photos, police car dash cam footage, bodycam video, or corroborating witness names and statements.
This, of course, is in addition to all the other things your personal injury attorney can do for you, including negotiating denied accident claims, acquiring and organizing pertinent medical records, calculating a fair settlement amount, and keeping you informed of all the developments in your case every step of the way.
Get a Free Consultation from Lerner and Rowe Injury Attorneys
Deciding to hire a lawyer is a big decision, and one that shouldn’t be made lightly. Our nationally-recognized law firm includes a network of personal injury attorneys available 24/7 that are licensed to represent clients in Alabama, Arizona, Illinois, Indiana, Nevada, New Mexico, Tennessee, and Washington. When you call us, the first thing we’ll do is arrange your no obligation, complimentary case review.
If you need help accessing car accident footage or finding out if footage of your crash exists, contact Lerner and Rowe Injury Attorneys day or night by calling 844-977-1900, connecting online using our LiveChat service, or by filling out this form for a free case review.
Should you decide to hire us, you won’t have to worry about paying us a penny unless we make a financial recovery on your behalf—that’s our no fee promise. And, in the meantime, we’ll be hard at work making sure you get the settlement you need to cover your medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and in cases of wrongful death, funeral expenses and loss of consortium.