Dashcams in Accident Cases
Can a Dashcam Help Your Car Accident Case?
After a car or trucking accident, you may be emotionally rattled or severely injured; this is not exactly conducive to retaining certain information that may prove essential in an insurance claim or personal injury case. If the other driver flees the scene, for example, you may not have the presence of mind to note a license plate number or even the make of the vehicle. Dashcams have become increasingly popular in the last decade as a means of capturing vital details in an accident. But can a dash cam really help your car accident case? Read our article to learn more.
What is a Dash Cam?
Dashcam is short for “dashboard camera.” The name is somewhat misleading, however, since these devices are not necessarily mounted solely on the dashboard. They are often found clipped to the rearview mirror or on the interior of the windshield. Placement of the device will depend on the specific camera you are installing. It is important to install it according to the manufacturer’s instructions for both efficacy and legality.
The primary function of a dashcam is to record footage of the road while driving. Some dashcams can also record speed, braking, and location and can send images to other devices.
Dashcams as Evidence in Accident Cases
Video footage of an accident can be very beneficial in supporting a car accident and personal injury case. That being said, you will want to review any footage with an experienced car accident attorney before submitting it as evidence to your insurance company. There may be details you overlooked that can actually work against you. For example, your camera may show that the vehicle in front of you failed to yield, but it may also have recorded that you were driving ten miles above the speed limit. Under comparative negligence, your settlement could be reduced based on this evidence.
The placement of your dashcam may also be an issue that arises in court. Colorado law permits the use of dashcams; however, Revised Statute 42-4-227 prohibits any object or material that obstructs the windshield or “reflects sunlight or headlight glare into the eyes of occupants of oncoming or preceding vehicles.” A dashcam mounted onto the windshield or with a reflective case or screen may be construed as a violation of this statute and negatively affect your case.
Finally, there is a chance you may unwittingly violate the personal rights of the passengers within your vehicle by utilizing a dashcam without their knowledge. If you are using a dashcam and there is anyone else in the car with you, be certain you have their express permission to record both visual and audio elements while driving.
Do Dashcams Lower Insurance Rates?
No. There is a common misconception that using a dashcam can secure some kind of discount or lower insurance rate. While dashcams can help keep your rates from going up by demonstrating you were not at fault in an accident, no insurance currently offers any discounted rates for using one.
How Can a Dashcam Help an Accident Case?
Provided your dashcam was mounted in accordance with Colorado law, the images obtained before, during, and after an accident can prove invaluable. Among other things, a dashcam may demonstrate:
- Hazardous road conditions that contributed to the crash
- License plate numbers of involved vehicles
- Make and model of involved vehicles
- Evidence of reckless driving, such as swerving or running a red light
- Evidence that the other vehicle fled the scene
- Speed of involved vehicles at the time of the crash
Are Dashcams Ever Mandatory?
Dashcams are not compulsory in any state. However, they are becoming increasingly common, especially with the prevalence of rideshare programs. Commercial truck drivers may also be requested by an employer to use a dashcam. These cameras can protect both the driver and passengers in the event of an accident or other legal issue. If you are in a profession that requires a good deal of driving, or you are in a high-accident area, a dashcam can be a worthwhile investment.
Accident Attorney in Denver
Of course, not having a dashcam does not preclude you from seeking legal advice in the event of a crash! If you are involved in a car accident in Colorado, please contact David Roth at the Roth Group. Dave is a highly experienced insurance and personal injury attorney who will help you collect any and all available evidence to support your case. Call or go online today to schedule your free consultation.