In the past, dashboard cameras were synonymous with law enforcement officers. Nonetheless, more motorists are installing dash cams in their vehicles to record everything on the road. Dash cam footage can help prove that the other motorist was at fault and liable for the crash.
If you get injured or suffer losses in a crash, and your vehicle has a dash cam, you may be left wondering: is the footage admissible as evidence in car accident cases? The team at AttorneyJeff Injury Lawyers explains what you need to know about dash cam footage in California car accidents.
Why Would You Want to Install a Dash Cam?
Installing a dash cam in your vehicle offers numerous benefits, including:
- Providing a record of your crash and helping to identify the at-fault party.
- Avoiding a ticket if you get stopped for a violation you didn’t commit.
- Keeping an eye on your car whenever you leave it unattended in parking lots and similar places.
- Monitoring a teen driver’s driving habits.
- Capturing other unexpected events, including crimes.
Dash cams come in handy if you get involved in a collision. The at-fault driver’s account of the incident could be untrue, and witnesses may also forget details of the crash or leave out essential information. With a dash cam, you will have real-time footage of the incident to consult.
The Legality of Dash Cams in California
Cal. Veh. Code § 26708 allows you to install a dash cam in your vehicle. Nonetheless, it stipulates where the camera should be. Under the California dash cam law, dash cams must get deployed according to these restrictions:
- Beyond the range of airbag deployment.
- Within a seven square-inch area at the windshield’s right-hand corner.
- Attached to the windshield’s lower left-hand corner, covering less than five square inches.
- Attached to the windshield’s upper center and covering less than five square inches.
If you install a dash cam with audio recording capabilities, you must post a visible notice informing your passengers. If they don’t want to be recorded, you must turn off the camera’s audio recording feature.
Features to Look for in a Dash Cam
Dash cams come in different models, prices, and features. Although all dash cams can record videos, some don’t have audio recording capability. Others come with advanced features such as Wi-Fi connectivity, dual-camera recording, night vision, and GPS.
Besides the basic features, a high-end dash cam can have the following capabilities:
- Loop recording to record over old footage automatically.
- 32GB or more of memory.
- High heat resistance to endure California’s typically hot weather.
- Motion detectors to continue recording when you park your vehicle.
- A wide viewing angle of up to 180 degrees.
- Dual-camera recording at the back and front.
- GPS for storing speed and location data.
The Admissibility of Dash Cam Footage in Court
California courts generally admit dash card footage as evidence in car accident cases. Although California is a pure comparative negligence state, you can still file a compensation claim against the other driver. Dash cam footage can be essential evidence for affirming your claim if fault is disputed.
First responders and accident witnesses may try to reconstruct what happened at the scene, but their account is subject to human memory. Dashcam footage provides clear evidence of everything that happened before, during, and after the crash. This can help prove or disprove some of the evidence presented against you in court.
Your dash cam footage’s usefulness during a car accident claim primarily depends on its quality and angle. For instance, if you installed a low-end dash cam, you may have blurry footage.
What Evidence Does a Dash Cam Collect?
With a high-quality dash cam, you can prove the following:
- The at-fault driver committed traffic violations, including making unsafe lane changes and running a red light, while you observed all traffic laws.
- You were driving within the speed limit, but the at-fault driver was speeding.
- The location of the crash and events that led to it, especially if the parties involved are in dispute.
- The other driver’s identity if the crash was a hit and run.
- Weather, road, and traffic conditions that contributed to the crash.
An experienced California car accident lawyer can help persuade the court using ample high-quality footage to rule in your favor if the case proceeds to trial.
When is Dash Cam Footage Not Helpful?
Depending on the facts and circumstances of your accident, dashboard camera footage is not always helpful in proving liability after a car crash. For instance, your claim may get dismissed if the footage shows you committed a traffic infraction that primarily contributed to the accident.
Similarly, if you have a forward-facing camera and get hit from behind at a traffic light, the dash cam footage may be of little or no help. For this reason, it’s best to review the dash cam footage with your lawyer before you present it as evidence in court.
Contact a California Car Accident Attorney Today
It can be hard to tell whether the dash cam footage is helpful to your car accident case, which is why you need an experienced car accident attorney to determine its admissibility in court.
At AttorneyJeff Injury Lawyers, we’re committed to recovering compensation for our clients by leveraging our proficient negotiation skills, in-depth knowledge, and courtroom expertise. If you recently got involved in a car accident in California, contact us today to schedule a free case review and discuss your legal options.
FAQs About Dash Cam Footage
Can my lawyer request another dash cam footage of the crash?
Yes. If your dashboard camera didn’t capture the crash well, your lawyer can obtain another vehicle’s dash cam footage and present it as evidence in court.
Can dash cam footage be used against you?
Yes, your dash cam footage can be used to prove that you’re partly to blame for the accident.