After a motor vehicle accident, many people wish they could see what happened and how exactly the accident occurred. While a party’s perspective and the statements of witnesses are helpful to uncovering the events leading to an accident, they are often still flawed and can miss vital information that could be helpful in determining fault and liability for the damages and injuries that resulted from the crash. Traffic camera footage is becoming much more widely used across Alabama and when an accident happens there may be footage to be found within Alabama’s traffic cam system.
How Traffic Camera Footage Works in Alabama
There is a web of traffic cams across Alabama’s major roadways. There are traffic cam systems in effect by various municipalities, including the ALGO traffic cam system created by the Alabama Department of Transportation. The ALGO traffic system is an example of how the state can provide live streams of popular interstates and highways throughout the state.
This, in addition to red light cameras used by law enforcement, can catch various car accidents as they occur, particularly at major intersections. Traffic cam footage can provide a better insight into how an accident happened and who may be to blame, but getting access to the footage of these available traffic cams is not as easy as it may seem.
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Can Anyone Request Traffic Camera Footage?
In just a few clicks you can view over 100 live stream traffic cameras across Alabama. However, the footage for these cameras is limited to under 30-second snippets in real-time. This limits what an everyday person can access online from the convenience of their own home.
An accident victim cannot just pull up footage of the location of their accident. To access traffic cam footage, you must go through the Alabama Department of Transportation (DOT) or the municipality in charge of the camera you are interested in retrieving footage and request the information. The process for requesting traffic cam footage is not always transparent and it can be challenging to achieve for a party to an accident without the proper guidance and assistance.
Seeking Traffic Camera Footage Requires Urgency
Due to the vast network of traffic cameras, much of the footage taken by the cameras is kept for a very short and limited time span. The footage captured by traffic cams routinely gets purged and deleted to free up space on servers for the constant influx of new footage. The main purpose of traffic cams is not to record accidents or other incidents, but rather to provide real-time updates on traffic and traffic flow throughout the state, and, for red-light cameras, it is to penalize drivers that fail to obey traffic signals.
Since the agencies that use the traffic cams do not have a use for the recordings, it is typical for these recordings to only remain saved or on file for a short period of time; sometimes only a matter of days following a crash. Therefore, there is an urgency to retrieve this footage from the appropriate source if it is vital in a case. Unfortunately, bureaucracy can cause significant delays and by the time a request is approved or reviewed it may be too late and the footage is already gone.
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How Can a Lawyer Help You Access Traffic Camera Footage in Alabama?
If you believe there is traffic footage of your crash and that it can provide a clear picture as to the fault and liability in your case, you must act quickly and with urgency to get access to the footage. Your best opportunity to access this footage and notify the parties that have it in their possession to preserve it is to contact an Alabama car accident attorney. An attorney understands what to do to get the footage that is available from traffic cams after a crash.
While it can be very challenging for accident victims themselves to get the footage they need, an attorney can use their resources, knowledge, and experience to secure traffic cam footage to bolster your claim for damages and to prove fault following a motor vehicle accident.
The Impact of Traffic Camera Footage in a Car Accident Case
While photographs after a crash, witness accounts, the area of damage, and other evidence can be helpful to determine fault and damages in the aftermath of a crash, a video can be an invaluable piece of evidence that can ensure there is little doubt as to how or why an accident took place. A video of the events that transpired in the lead-up to an accident can show which driver acted negligently and in turn caused the crash. In addition, a video can show the force and impact behind a collision, which can offer an explanation as to the severity of injuries and damages that a victim sustains during the crash.
Is There Anything You Can Do to Help in Seeking Footage from Traffic Cams in Alabama?
After a crash, you may be unsure if traffic cam footage of your accident even exists. The first step you should take is to try to figure out if there are any cameras at the scene of the crash. Traffic cams are often visible and easily identifiable from the scene of an accident.
While at the scene of the crash, you can take a quick moment to observe your surroundings and see if there are any indications of traffic cams or red-light cameras. Take down the information of the location of the traffic camera to relay the information to your attorney during your case consultation as this can help initiate the process of preserving the video evidence from the cameras if it is available.
After an Accident, Contact an Alabama Automobile Accident Attorney
If you or a loved one are a victim in a car accident and you need help retrieving accident footage and fighting for the compensation of your losses from the insurance company or party at fault, contact an Alabama car accident lawyer to schedule a free case consultation.
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