Social media videos show us the entertainment value of using dashcams to record yourself singing or playing a prank on your child in the backseat, but they have a more practical and important purpose: recording vehicular crimes and accidents. Details of a car accident might get fuzzy for people, but a dashcam will provide a reliable eyewitness account.
This means that you can use dashcam evidence in your car accident claim.
Just be sure you know the dashcam and recording laws in your state and how the footage can affect your car accident case.
A Brief History of Dashcams in the United States
While it may seem like dashcams are one of the modern technological era’s trendy toys, they are not new. The use of a dashboard-mounted camera traces back to 1939 when an article in Popular Science magazine featured a photo of an officer with a video camera mounted on his dashboard.
His plan was to record traffic violators and use the footage as evidence. Police began to routinely use video cameras in the 1980s with Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) and insurance companies funding their use.
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Is It Legal to Use a Dashcam in My State?
To use a dashcam in your state, you must be aware of the legal requirements.
Mounting a Dashcam
All states allow the use of dashcams; however, most of them, like Louisiana, do not allow cameras to be mounted on a windshield. Dashcams are legal to use in all states if placed on a dashboard. Limited states allow windshield mounting, though it is usually accompanied by some form of restriction concerning size or window placement. States that allow you to place a dashcam on your window are listed below:
- North Carolina
The issue at the heart of dashcam placement laws is one of visibility. States do not allow anything that obstructs the view through the front window. Obstructions could lead to traffic accidents.
Recording laws in your state will also have a bearing on your dashcam use as evidence in a car accident claim. These cameras can record what’s happening outside and inside the car, including audio. Most states require only one party to consent to recording; however, other states demand the consent of everyone being recorded.
If your state requires the consent of all parties and you fail to obtain it, the recording will not be admissible in court, not to mention it is illegal.
Most states, including Louisiana, require consent from only one person, but 12 states make it mandatory to have the consent of all involved. Check your state privacy laws to know the requirements where you live. A car accident lawyer can also advise you of the privacy laws in your state.
Benefits of Using Dashcam Footage As Evidence
A dashcam can strengthen your case in a personal injury lawsuit or insurance claim. Dashcams might capture the moment of impact in your car accident and the events that led up to it, clearly showing what happened. If recording audio or video inside the vehicle, dashcams can also provide insight into the cause, actions, or mindset of the driver.
Dashcam footage may also corroborate your claims of innocence. If video footage shows a driver talking about the aggressive driving of another vehicle moments before the vehicle collides with his, it will support claims that he did not cause the accident.
Insurance companies use dashcam evidence to help them determine liability. Some of them even offer a discount on your car insurance premium if you use a dashcam.
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Dashcam Evidence Can Be Used Against You
Be careful when considering using a dashcam in your vehicle. The same footage you believe will help you could show you doing something that harms your case. If there is even the slightest opening to blame you for the car accident, the opposing counsel will find it. Sharing the blame could decrease your compensation.
Having your own legal counsel review any dashcam video you recorded will help ensure you are properly prepared for any defense the insurance company or defendant might bring.
Importantly, dashcam evidence is generally treated like any other evidence in legal proceedings, meaning both parties have access to it and can use it in court.
Morris Bart, LLC Knows How to Use the Right Evidence to Get You Compensation for Your Car Accident
Using dashcam evidence in a car accident claim requires special knowledge of state laws and legal practices. An attorney at the Morris Bart law firm can help you sort through your dashcam footage and determine how best to use it in your car accident claim.
Dashcams can be crucial in securing fair compensation for your losses. Contact a lawyer from our firm today at (800) 537-8185 for a free case evaluation.
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