Can I Use Footage from My Personal Dash Cam in Court?
Whether for their personal safety or as part of an agreement to work for a ride share service, it has become increasingly common for drivers to install personal visual and/or audio recording devices in their vehicles. Besides helping ensure the safety of drivers, however, the recordings from these self-installed devices can actually be used as evidence in court to prove who was at fault for auto accidents. To speak with an experienced Fort Lauderdale auto accident lawyer about the kinds of evidence that can be used in your own case, please call our office today.
What are Dash Cams?
Dash cams are recording devices that are installed in a person’s vehicle, usually on the dashboard. These devices record video and sometimes audio and usually begin recording automatically when a person starts the ignition, as they are commonly hardwired directly into a car’s electrical system. Often, dash cam footage is recorded directly on an SD card and generally shows a view of the road from the front or back of a vehicle.
Can Dash Cam Footage be Used as Evidence?
Under Florida law, it is legal for drivers to install their own dash cams in their vehicles. Motorists are, however, only allowed to place their dash cams in certain places on the dashboard. For instance, the Florida Windshield Obstruction law bars drivers from putting nontransparent materials on their front windshields if those items limit a driver’s line of sight. Any failure to abide by these rules could have serious consequences down the road, as judges could choose to throw out any footage recorded on a dash cam that wasn’t installed legally.
Using dash cam footage isn’t always a sure-fire way to demonstrate liability in a Florida car accident case. This is because, even when a car accident victim can provide a video recording of the accident, it is still up to a judge or jury to:
- Decide whether the recording can be used as evidence;
- Assess that video for evidence of fault;
- Determine whether the video is accurate; and
- Ensure that the video hasn’t been altered.
Ultimately, it is up to a judge to decide whether specific footage from a dash cam can be used in court to prove fault. It’s important to note, however, that not all cases go to trial. In fact, most personal injury cases settle out of court. In these cases, dash cam footage that is deemed authentic and reliable could still be used to convince an at-fault party to offer a better settlement at an earlier stage in the proceedings.
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While having dash cam footage can make all the difference to the outcome of a car accident case, it is still important to have a personal injury attorney on one’s side who knows how to use this kind of evidence appropriately. Please call 954-566-9919 today to learn more about how an experienced car accident lawyer from Boone & Davis could help with your own case.