Using Dash Cam Evidence in Your Car Accident Claim

A dash cam is a dashboard camera that can record information, including video footage, about a car accident. You can use this information in settlement negotiations, and often, you can use it in court. Indeed, dash cam footage might make the difference between victory and defeat in your case.

What Can a Dash Cam Do?

Dash cams vary widely in their features, depending on how much money you are willing to spend.

Standard Dash Cam Functions

The following offers a description of the functions of the average dash cam:

  • Continuously records video footage while you are driving, typically in a loop of four to six minutes, to overwrite old files
  • Automatically saves footage of accidents or incidents
  • Captures audio inside your vehicle
  • Offers a wide-angle view of the road

See below for the features of more advanced models.

Extra Dash Cam Features

More advanced dash cams offer some or all of the following features: 

  • GPS tracking: Logs your location and speed at all times
  • Dual-channel recording: Records your car’s front and rear views simultaneously
  • Wi-Fi connectivity: Allows for easy transfer of videos using a smartphone app
  • Parking mode: Monitors the vehicle while parked and records any impact
  • Night vision
  • Cloud storage: Automatically uploads your footage to the cloud

Some models offer even more advanced features not listed here.

What Does a Dash Cam Show?

Dash cam footage allows you to see:

  • A wide-angle view of the road ahead and surrounding traffic
  • The interior of your car (some models)
  • The speed and direction of your vehicle (some models)

This kind of footage can serve as persuasive evidence either in court or at the settlement table.

How a Dash Cam Can Help You in the Event of an Accident

Without a dash cam, you could end up facing the age-old “he said, she said” problem – it’s just your word against the other driver’s word, with no concrete evidence other than each person’s statements. Below are descriptions of how a dash cam can help you after a car accident.

As noted above, dash cams have limited storage space, and they will overwrite previously recorded information. Pay attention to avoid overwriting something you might need later.   

Identifying a Hit-and-Run Driver

A dash cam can help you identify a hit-and-run driver. In particular, it might catch the fleeing driver’s license plate number and even their face. With a little luck, you can find the driver and prepare an airtight case against them. 

Establishing the Sequence of Events

An accident reconstruction specialist is a kind of car accident expert who establishes the sequence of the crash from beginning to end. A dash cam can perform much of this job on its own. The best way to use this capability is to enable a reconstruction specialist to incorporate dash cam footage into their analysis of the accident.

Documenting Weather and Road Conditions

Weather and road conditions often play a major role in accidents. Dash cam footage of the road and weather can benefit you greatly, especially if the other driver is unfairly blaming you for the collision.

Capturing Critical Details

A camera doesn’t lie, although it sometimes misleads. A dash cam can capture important details, like the positioning of the cars on the road immediately after the accident, which can be a dead giveaway for assigning fault. 

Disproving False Accusations

If you are the one being accused of causing an accident, your dash cam can potentially prove the accusing party wrong. If they are blatantly lying, your dash cam footage can also degrade the credibility of any other testimony they might be offering.

Strengthening the Testimony of Witnesses

A dash cam can bolster the credibility of your own witnesses if their stories are consistent with your footage. This additional credibility will also buttress the persuasiveness of anything else they have to say about events that your dash cam didn’t witness.

Documenting a Road Rage Incident

Road rage is an intentional tort as well as a crime. Since you may be entitled to punitive damages after a road rage incident, it is important to gather as much evidence as possible. Your dash cam can help you collect overwhelming evidence against the offending driver.

Preserving Dash Cam Evidence

Download your dash cam footage immediately after your accident, make a backup copy, and keep both copies in secure locations. Don’t keep them together because if you lose one, you’ll probably lose the other as well. You might even upload the footage to the Internet to keep it safe.

How Using a Dash Cam Can Backfire on You

If the accident was your fault, your dash cam evidence will probably work against you. That’s just the way it is. Cameras tell the truth, whether that helps us or hurts us.

Pretrial Discovery and Court Subpoenas

If the accident was your fault and the other driver finds out you have a dash cam, they might subpoena your dash cam records as evidence against you.

Dash cams are legal in both Arizona and New Mexico. Nevertheless, both states require that you mount your dash cam in a manner that does not obstruct your windshield or block your view of the road. It would be ironic if you bought a dash cam to protect yourself against blame for an accident, only to find yourself in an accident caused by the dash cam itself. 

How Much Does a Dash Cam Cost?

Dash cams are not expensive in the overall scheme of things. The price can vary significantly depending on the features. Basic models start at only $50, while a high-end model might set you back more than $400. For an average model, expect to spend between $100 and $250. There might be hidden costs as well, such as installation fees.

A Personal Injury Lawyer Can Help You Maximize the Value of Your Car Accident Case By Using Dash Cam Evidence

If you have important dash cam footage of your car accident, you may be able to use it in settlement negotiations and in court. How you use this evidence is critical, however. An experienced car accident lawyer can help you maximize the effect of your evidence.

A Phoenix Car Accident Lawyer Can Help 

To learn more about Arizona traffic laws or to discuss your accident, contact a Phoenix car accident lawyer. Your lawyer will analyze your case and discuss your rights. Next, your lawyer will investigate your accident to determine who is liable and gather evidence to support your case. Contact our Phoenix car accident attorneys at Curiel & Runion Car Accident & Personal Injury Lawyers to schedule a free case review today.

Curiel & Runion Car Accident & Personal Injury Lawyers
1221 E Osborn Rd. Suite 201
Phoenix, AZ 85014

(602) 595-5559

Curiel & Runion Personal Injury Lawyers
5151 E Broadway Blvd. Suite 1600
Tucson, AZ 85711
(520) 492-0926

Curiel & Runion Personal Injury Lawyers
400 Gold Avenue SW Suite 650
Albuquerque, NM 87102
(505) 594-3621