Can Your Dash Cam Footage Be Used as Evidence in an Auto Accident Case?


More and more drivers throughout the U.S. are putting dashboard-mounted cameras inside their vehicles. It's a growing trend that shows no signs of stopping, thanks in large part to their ability to capture video footage of auto accidents, from minor fender benders to serious crashes.

A dash cam can be an indispensable tool when it comes to proving fault, but only if a court decides to enter that footage as evidence. The following talks about the circumstances under which courts may accept or deny the use of dash cam footage as a means of proving your auto accident case.

Most Courts Allow it With Some Exceptions

Most jurisdictions are willing to accept dash cam footage as admissible evidence, especially in something as potentially complicated as an auto accident case. As long as the footage clearly shows the events leading up to the accident, there's a good chance it will be utilized in your case.

Just because your footage was entered as evidence does not mean it'll actually be used, however. Although there are no federal or even state laws that govern the overall usage of dash cam footage, there are still certain recording statutes that could prevent your footage from being used. For instance, 11 states require the consent of all parties to a recording.

As far as privacy issues are concerned, the open road is usually treated as a public space where drivers have no expectation of privacy. As long as you're on public roads, certain privacy laws may not apply when it comes to using footage from your dash cam. If the footage was taken on private property, however, you may not be able to use your dash cam footage unless you obtain consent from the property owner.

Certain state and federal statutes also prohibit the recording of video footage on military installations and other high-security facilities. Not only will your footage be considered inadmissible as evidence, you may also face civil and criminal penalties for violating those statutes.

Some Courts May Prefer Eyewitness Testimony

The unblinking eye of a dash cam may seem like the perfect witness to the events surrounding your case, but eyewitness testimony may be considered by some courts as a more credible tool when it comes to proving your auto accident case. This can happen for a variety of reasons.

For instance, some judges and juries may simply view actual eyewitness testimony with more gravitas than your dash cam footage. Technical issues may also prevent the courts from relying on your dash cam footage as unimpeachable evidence. The limited field of vision offered by a typical dash cam means that crucial events can occur outside of its view, resulting in semi-reliable evidence that doesn't show the complete picture.

The defense may also argue that there's plenty of opportunity for the footage to be edited in your favor, given that the footage was initially in your possession. Such an argument could sway the jury into treating your dash cam footage with less weight than an eyewitness account of the accident.

Law Enforcement Agencies May Ask for It

It's not unusual for law enforcement officials to request a review of your dash cam footage in the aftermath of an auto accident. Keep in mind that at this point, turning over your dash cam footage to the authorities is a completely voluntary action and that it's up to you to decide whether or not to willingly do so.

The only time law enforcement officials can force you to surrender your dash cam footage is if they legally obtain a subpoena or search warrant for that particular footage. Officials can also seize footage via the exigent circumstances doctrine, where officials believe that the destruction of evidence such as your dash cam footage is imminent and immediate measures need to be taken to secure said footage.

To learn more about your options after a car accident, contact lawyers such as Teresa P Williams.


25 August 2017

Talking About Car Accident Cases

Hello everyone, my name is Nina Zoulon. On this site, I am going to share information about hiring a personal injury attorney. I will also talk about my journey to procuring those services for myself. When I was a beginning driver, I was on the road constantly. During one of those excursions, a driver going the opposite direction crossed the centerline and plowed straight into my vehicle. I was trapped by the dashboard for hours while firefighters helped me escape. After the accident, the other driver tried to blame my inexperience on the accident. I hired a lawyer to help me fight the case and I won. I would like to discuss personal injury attorney services in more detail to help other people win their cases in court. Thanks.