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Getting Surveillance Camera Footage of a Car Accident in Tampa, FL

Getting Surveillance Camera Footage of a Car Accident in Tampa, FL

Video footage of a car accident is dream evidence. Even in this age of Photoshop and deep fakes, seeing is still believing. Even medical records don’t carry the kind of evidentiary clout that a video does. 

If you suffered an injury in a car accident caused by someone else’s negligence, the existence of a video that captures the accident is a stroke of luck for you. Nevertheless, you’ve got to know how to take advantage of the opportunity that the video represents.

Move Quickly

If a camera filmed your accident at 5 pm, someone may have inadvertently overwritten it by 9 am the next day. If they did, your dream evidence is gone forever. The harsh reality is that a lot of video footage gets overwritten every 24 hours to make room for new footage. This isn’t always the case, however. Some footage might remain on file for months on end. Assume the worst-case scenario and move as quickly as you can.

Identify the Exact Location of the Accident

You might need to remember exactly where the accident took place. You might be from out of town, for example, or a head injury might be preventing you from remembering the accident. If the police arrived at the scene of the accident, which is likely, the crash report should list the exact location of the accident. The problem is that a crash report might not be publicly available for several days–and again, you’ve got to move quickly.

If you are alert during the aftermath of the accident (as most accident victims are), look for places that might be harboring a camera—a nearby parking lot, for example. If you left the scene of the accident without looking for a camera, go back or have your friend go back and look for places where a camera might be lurking.

A Summary of What You Need to Do

Take the following steps, to the extent possible:

  • Find the exact location of the accident
  • Locate any camera that might have filmed the accident
  • Find out whose permission you need to take a look at the video footage
  • Ask the owner of the footage to delay destroying or overwriting it
  • Make a formal request to the responsible party to see the footage
  • Copy the footage (in a manner that preserves the chain of evidence)

You’ll probably need the help of a lawyer for all of these steps.

Places Where You Might Find a Camera

Look for video footage from the following sources:

  • The dashcams of any witnesses whose contact details you gathered after the crash
  • City traffic cameras
  • Private cameras, such as cameras in strip mall parking lots
  • Highway cameras maintained by the city or state government
  • Facebook, Tik Tok, and Instagram, etc. These are easy to download and use as evidence but difficult to find.
  • Police body cam videos 

While body cam videos will probably not contain footage of the crash itself, they might contain critical evidence. The position of the cars on the road at the time the police arrive often tells the entire story about whose fault the accident was.

Getting Permission to Use the Video

The best way to get permission to view a video and use it as evidence is to–ask. But who should you ask? It might not be obvious who owns the video. Your lawyer can help you locate the person with authority over the video. 

The next step is to ask the owner to preserve the video as evidence. You should do this in writing. If they don’t want to let you see the video, you might need a court order or a subpoena. Your lawyer can help you with this, too.

The last step will be to get the judge to admit the video as evidence. Even if you’re not filing a lawsuit, you can still use the video as persuasive evidence to squeeze a generous settlement out of the opposing party.

Talk to a Tampa Personal Injury Lawyer About Getting Surveillance Footage

Given the need for speed, it’s best that you contact a Tampa car accident lawyer on the day of the accident so that you can immediately begin your attempts to gain access to the video footage. Don’t worry about money. If you have a strong claim, you won’t have to pay a dime upfront. That’s because Tampa lawyers work on a contingency fee basis—if you don’t win, you pay nothing in legal fees.

Contact a Tampa Car Accident Lawyer from Winters & Yonker Personal Injury Lawyers for Help Today

For more information, please contact Winters & Yonker Personal Injury Lawyers to schedule a free consultation with a car accident lawyer in Tampa today. We have five convenient locations in Florida, including Tampa, Clearwater, St. Petersburg, New Port Richey, and Lakeland.

We proudly serve Hillsborough County, Pinellas County, Pasco County, Polk County, and its surrounding areas:

Winters & Yonker Personal Injury Lawyers – Tampa Office
601 W Swann Ave, Tampa, FL 33606
(813) 223-6200

Winters & Yonker Personal Injury Lawyers – Clearwater Office
600 Bypass Dr Suite 224-D, Clearwater, FL 33764
(727) 493-4418

Winters & Yonker Personal Injury Lawyers – St. Petersburg Office
111 2nd Ave NE Suite 350, St. Petersburg, FL 33701
(727) 314-5988

Winters & Yonker Personal Injury Lawyers – New Port Richey Office
5006 Trouble Creek Rd Unit #200, Port Richey, FL 34652
(727) 910-5060

Winters & Yonker Personal Injury Lawyers – Lakeland Office
1543 Lakeland Hills Blvd Suite 18, Lakeland, FL 33805
(863) 251-6196

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