Driving is a necessity and a way of life in Los Angeles. However, the more time spent behind the wheel, the higher the risk of an accident. Extreme weather, distracted drivers, animals in the roadway, and high speeds can all lead to a single-car collision or one with one or more vehicle.
The increasing number of L.A. car accidents means that you’ll likely be involved in a car accident at least once in your driving life. When this happens, your first thought should be your safety and that of your passengers. Damage to your vehicle comes second.
California is a fault state for drivers, so the driver responsible for the accident, and their insurer, are liable for medical expenses and property damages. This is where camera footage from the accident can be critical in determining responsibility and proving negligence, and that visual record will prove invaluable in any civil lawsuit.
While downtown L.A. has 35,000 street cameras recording traffic, it can be tricky to find footage that captures the accident and clearly shows how it occurred. However, a dashboard camera will record the moments leading up to an accident, the accident itself, and even its immediate aftermath, all from the perspective of the vehicle equipped with it.
Dashboard cameras became legal in civilian vehicles in California in 2011, but there are rules:
- You must get consent for any audio recording from all passengers in the vehicle
- You must inform all passengers that your vehicle has a dashcam that may record any conversation that occurs
- You must post notice that you are using a dashcam that captures audio.
- If consent is not given, you must turn off the dashcam.
- The dashcam must be smaller than 5 square inches if placed in the upper center of the dashboard or smaller than 7 square inches if placed in the lower right corner.
- A dashcam can’t interfere with airbag deployment.
Dashcams record more than just conversations inside the vehicle and the road ahead. They also record information that can be used to prove negligence — or the lack of negligence — like:
- Footage from inside the car.
- The speed the car is driving.
- The direction the car is driving.
- Data on braking and steering.
- Seatbelt use and road conditions.
California allows footage from dashcams to be used in court by either party to an accident. However, if you and your attorney plan to use the footage in presenting your case in court, it must be shared with the opposing party’s attorney.
The dashcam footage can be used to reconstruct the accident to show where any negligence lies. This includes causing an accident even if the negligent driver didn’t directly hit your vehicle but caused you to, for example, swerve and crash. The recording also can be used as evidence that the accident was an attempt at insurance fraud.
Dashcam footage is particularly helpful in hit-and-run cases because while it may not capture the face of the negligent driver, it will record the vehicle make and model and its license plate. However, it’s important to remember that dashcam evidence can also be used to show negligence on your part, if you were speeding or not buckled up.
And, if you don’t use a dashcam but are involved in an accident where the other vehicle does, your attorney can use that footage as well. Of course, if you were at fault, that evidence can be used against you. Either way, for dashcam footage to be used in court, it can’t be edited for tampered with in any way.
Have you suffered personal injuries or are fighting an insurance claim? The attorneys at LawPLA can help. Just give us a call at either of our Los Angeles offices or fill out our online contact form here for a free consultation.