We have previously addressed the use of Dashcams to prove fault in a vehicle accident, listing the Top Five Reasons to invest in one.
But what if you don’t have a dashcam?
Is it possible that the accident was caught on video by another device?
If so, how would one go about collecting this?
Don’t worry, we did the research. Recordings of your accident could have potentially been captured by a range of devices; a cell phone, police dashcam, security cameras or traffic cameras. Video evidence could be crucial to your case; especially if there were no other witnesses, or the witness stories do not match your recollection of the event. This occurred recently when a young motorcyclist’s dashcam footage proved that the other driver was at fault, even though the witness accounts held the motorcyclist at fault.
There are a few simple steps to finding out if video exists, who has it and how to legally request a copy.
1. Discover if the video exists and who may have this:
Depending on where your accident occurred, footage may exist of the accident. You should consider this early on in your claim process as some business or security cameras may only retain footage for a limited time. You should have a think about the accident location; was it near a secure car-park or business, could they have the footage?
You should consult your lawyer about the possibility of this footage and if it could be submitted as evidence. They will assist you in the next step; legally requesting the footage.
2. Undertake the correct legal process to obtain the footage:
There are typically three approaches to obtaining video footage for your case;
1. Ask the Individual or Business (after discussing this with your lawyer): Often, if a third party (not you or the at fault party) have footage of your accident, they will be happy to supply this to you. However, you need to be certain that this footage is of a public place, such as the road where the accident occurred; private property filming carries different restrictions and cannot be used in court proceedings.
2. Submit the necessary forms or fees (these may be recoverable in your claim): Occasionally obtaining footage may require the submission of paperwork and/or payment to a third party. Your lawyer can assist you with this.
3 . Submit a Subpoena: If the owner of the footage refuses to allow you access to this, you can submit a Subpoena to obtain this. However, as subpoena can only be submitted once court proceedings have begun, a stage which many cases may not reach; due to prior settlement.
It is important to note that if the at fault party (the other driver) did have a dashcam, which recorded the accident his legal team are required, by law, to submit this as evidence. This is irrelevant of court proceedings.
Hopefully this information assists you in understanding how to obtain footage in the event of an accident; ideally you would consult a lawyer before undertaking any of the above procedures. If you would like any further information or clarification on this article, please contact the Gouldson Legal Team.