Installing a dash cam in your car can be a great way to provide evidence if you are ever in an accident in the Bay Area. The video camera is mounted on top of the car’s dashboard to monitor whatever happens on the road around you. The product itself is relatively inexpensive and can come in handy as its recording is conclusive proof of whoever is guilty of a personal injury accident.
It is essential to realize that accidents, especially when they involve your health and body wellness, are not easy to get over. The time and money it takes to recover, including hospital bills, car repair bills, legal fees, etc., can be costly and hard to come back from.
In this post, we have discussed the importance of using a dash cam if you’re ever in any personal injury accident:
It Acts as Your Third Eye
The dash cam particularly comes in handy if another car crashes into you and you are not fully aware of what happened. It primarily records and monitors what’s happening in and outside your vehicle.
You can drive around with satisfaction in the back of your mind that the dash cam is doing its job. Even if anything goes off slightly with another driver, you can always rely on your dash cam to present the truth. Many people who rely on dash cams feel helpless while driving without it.
Provides Frame-to-Frame Evidence
Most law officials and insurance officers try to depend on the car’s physical damage to prove an accident, such as scratches, dents, and skid marks on the road. In several cases, physical appearances are not the accurate indicators of what happened.
You can use the dash cam to determine frame-by-frame evidence of who or what hit the car, in which area, and at what angle. Since the camera also records the inside of the vehicle, it can quickly prove your innocence in the case.
Dash cams Record more than Audio and Video
The latest features in dash cams enable them to record the speed of the car at which it is driving. The cam can even capture seatbelt usage data and the road conditions that you have been driving on.
Other than this, it also monitors the way you drive your car, such as the way you use your brakes or steer the wheel. If you are ever caught up in an accident, this information can be vital for supporting your case, especially if you did not do anything wrong.
At the same time, if you are used to speeding, the dash cam also stores that data. This is something that can be used against you when proving your plea in an accident. It is wise to be aware of your actions on the road as you are constantly monitored.
Helps in Memory Recovery
In many instances, car accidents can cause your memory to be blurred or entirely wiped out in some rare cases. Dash cam recordings can help you in stitching all the moments together that led up to your accident so that you can make sense of what happened.
In some cases, it can provide you with the closure you need; for example, you might be blaming yourself for a bad accident or hurting a loved one on the passenger seat, which may not be your fault.
Left-Turn Accidents are one of the most common types of accidents that happen in California. The rate of personal injury accidents is higher in a left-turn accident than on a red light dispute because sometimes a car can directly hit the front of the vehicle, which is closer to the driver than the rear.
In case of this personal injury accident, the dash cam can help highlight who is at fault. The camera can highlight exactly how you sustained the injuries, which can help build a case.
Assault & Battery
Leaving the safety of your home comes along with a lot of uncertainty. There can be instances where you can be robbed, assaulted, or even kidnapped while being in your car. Installing a dash cam will allow you to use your dash cam footage to trace the perpetrator no matter what happens.
Hate crimes, mob attacks, and many other malicious activities can be a reason for personal injury accidents. Being physically hurt by another person and not being able to prove it is not a situation that you want to be in.
Insurance Fraud & Defamation
Insurance fraud in the United States is more common than you think. Dash cams can provide security against frauds and scams that can land you into trouble.
There have been scams where the perpetrator has used someone’s car to fake a crash to claim insurance money. Dash cam footage can save you from accusations that can potentially cost you a lot of money if not proven in your favor.
Aids in Identifying Hit & Run Drivers
Let’s say you were driving around town, and the car next to you accidentally (or on purpose) hits someone. In most hit and run cases, the driver speeds off before anyone gets a chance to look at who they were.
If you have invested in a high-definition dash cam, the chances are that your recording will be able to identify the car’s number plates at the very least. Even though this doesn’t directly benefit you, handing over the evidence makes you a good and responsible Samaritan.
It Helps you Settle Insurance Claims
Having proof of the other person involved can make it extremely easy for you to collect an insurance settlement that otherwise would be very hard. In many cases, insurance companies rely on electronic data and photos to prove authenticity in a particular case.
Similarly, you can use your dash cam footage to backup your claim, especially if you have to prove yourself innocent. Additionally, these video recordings can be used to add value to witness statements in the courtroom and shed light on which party was at fault.
However, not all insurance companies mention dash cam footage as an acceptable form of evidence in their policies. That said, courts in California do accept dash cam footage as evidence when it comes to claims. Ensure that your dashcam footage is not edited or tampered with; otherwise, it wouldn’t qualify as a reliable source of information.
Now that we have established how essential dash cams are in personal injury accidents, let’s discuss a little about California law.
Are Dash Cams Legal in California?
You must understand California’s state guidelines before you install a dash cam in your car. Footage from a dashcam that isn’t legally permitted will not be of any credibility in the court of law.
Here is a rundown of the guidelines as stated by California Law:
- All size and positioning guidelines should be followed
- If you install a dash cam in the top and center portion of your windshield, the size must be five sq. inches or smaller
- If you install it in the lower right corner, it should not exceed seven sq. inches
- Installing the camera in the lower-left corner can obstruct your view; hence it is not recommended
- Make sure that the dash cam does not come in the way of airbag deployment
Audio and video enables dash cams to require consent from passengers
Some types of dash cams can record audio along with the video. Since the camera can also record what is going on inside the car, the driver has to legally inform the car’s passengers about the dash cam’s existence. The passengers need to be aware that whatever they say and do in the vehicle will be recorded. However, if the consent does not take place and the car is in an accident, the footage from the dash cam will not hold up in court.
Essential Features to Look for
The type of dash cam that you have installed can make a lot of difference in your experience with it. Here are a few features that you should look into while purchasing one for your car’s security:
High-definition video – High-definition videos can help you get clear footage such as facial features and number plates. Clearer footage can help you prove your case much faster than having a poor-quality video that doesn’t provide clear answers.
Large Storage Space – Having ample storage space can prevent you from ever stopping recording in the middle of a ride. If your dashcam runs out of space while driving, it is useless until the time you put in a new memory card.
Low-light feature – Low-light features are particularly useful while you are driving in the dark. Through its night camera technology, it has the capability to record video even if it pitches black outside.
Motion detector – The motion detection feature is activated if the dash cam senses any movement while the car is parked. Even if something comes in contact with the vehicle, the dash cam can create a separate event file for you to have a look at later.
Inward facing camera – Most dash cams are designed to capture whatever is happening on the outside of the car. However, a dashcam that offers the option of capturing both inside and exterior is far more helpful because you can’t be sure where the problem might arise from. A passenger within the car might have an armed weapon that can cause you to crash into someone. Even if that person flees, the inward-facing camera will have all the proof needed to prove you not guilty of the accident.
Dash Cams May Not Always Work in Your Favor
Even though dash cams have many benefits for personal injury accident victims, it is crucial to understand that they can also be used against you. The footage provides clear evidence about who is at fault in a personal injury accident. You could be guilty just as much as any other car driver.
The fact that dash cams can also record what is happening inside the car, it is very easy to decipher which party was at fault. There are cases where both parties are at fault; hence, the dash cam footage is used to shed light on who is guiltier.
If you get into a personal injury accident and the person on the other side blames you for the accident, their lawyer has the right to subpoena the footage from the video. Authorities can take legal action against you if your mistake is caught on the dash cam. If the defendant is able to use the footage successfully, it can limit any liability you were supposedly entitled to.
Installing a dash cam may become problematic for you because you are continuously being monitored. If you get caught up in an accident, and the dash cam video contains footage of you doing any of the following, it can have many consequences:
- talking on the phone
- not driving with full attention
- being distracted by passengers even if it is you tending to your baby in the back seat
- not wearing a seat belt
- not stopping on a red light
An insurance lawyer can easily use any one of these offenses to reduce any settlement claim that you might have.
Hence, it is wise to fully understand the benefits and ramifications before getting it installed.
Our Bay Area Car Accident Lawyers Can Help With Your Case
If you have been in a car accident while using a dash cam or believe that the other party may have used one, contact Phoong Law experts immediately. We know how to verify liability professionally and prove your claim, giving you the best chance of winning your case.