Using Dash Cam Evidence in Your Tampa Car Accident Claim
December 19, 2023 | Winters & Yonker Personal Injury Lawyers | Car Accident
Dash cams or dashboard cameras have historically been used in law enforcement vehicles. However, a growing number of individuals are installing dash cams in their personal vehicles. The footage captures everything while they are driving, including what happens during an automobile accident.
Are Dash Cams Legal in Florida?
It is legal to use a dash cam in your vehicle in Florida. However, Florida Statute §316.2004 prohibits drivers from operating a vehicle with anything obstructing their view from the windshield or side windows. As long as the dash cam doesn’t block much of the windshield, it should be legal.
Another issue drivers need to address if they have a dash cam is adherence to Florida’s wiretapping laws. It is illegal to collect audio recordings of another person without their permission.
If the dash cam records audio, the driver should inform passengers of the recording when they enter the vehicle. The same applies if a police officer or another driver walks up to the vehicle after a car accident.
How Can a Dash Cam Help You After a Car Accident in Tampa, FL?
A dash cam recording can show what happened to help prove fault for the collision. Even though Florida is a no-fault state for car accident claims, you might have a liability insurance claim or personal injury case against the other driver if you sustained serious injuries. In that case, you would need to prove that the other driver caused the wreck to recover compensation for your injuries.
The footage from a dash cam is difficult to challenge. It captures what happened in the moment leading up to a collision. It provides exact information not tainted by memory or bias, unlike testimony from drivers or eyewitnesses. The dash cam recording could prove that the other driver was responsible for causing the crash.
Insurance companies often accuse victims of contributing to the cause of the accident. Under Florida’s comparative fault law, your compensation is reduced by your percentage of responsibility for causing the car crash. If you are more than 50% at fault, you are barred from receiving compensation from the other party for your economic and non-economic damages.
However, your dash cam footage could prove that you did not contribute to the cause of the accident. It may show that you were obeying traffic laws and using reasonable care, so the cause of the crash is 100% the fault of the other driver.
Unfortunately, dash cams might not catch everything that happens during a collision. Most dash cams capture what happens outside of the front window. Therefore, if you are involved in a rear-end collision or sideswiped, your footage might not be helpful in a Tampa car accident claim.
Will the Insurance Company Accept the Dash Cam Video of a Car Accident as Proof of Fault?
Whether an insurance company will accept dash cam footage in a Tampa car accident claim depends on the insurance company.
Liability insurance coverage compensates victims for damages after an insured driver causes a car accident. Florida does not require drivers to purchase liability insurance. However, many drivers have this coverage to protect their personal assets if they cause a traffic crash.
Even if the other driver has liability insurance coverage, it might not be easy to recover money for your damages. Insurance companies try to avoid liability for claims. They undervalue and dispute valid claims to avoid payment.
If the insurance company disputes liability for the claim, dash cam footage could help. The video could clearly show that the other driver’s actions led to the car crash, such as the other driver running a red light or driving on the wrong side of the road.
Before submitting the dash cam video to the insurance company, it is wise to consult a Tampa car accident attorney. The video could hurt your case instead of helping it. Unfortunately, if you sue the other driver, you might not have a choice but to turn over the dash cam footage as part of the discovery process before trial.
Is Dash Cam Footage Admissible in Court?
If your case goes to court, your attorney may use the dash cam footage as evidence during your trial. The camera captures the weather and road conditions at the time of the accident. It also records the events immediately prior to the collision, which can prove fault.
However, the other party may object to using dash cam footage as evidence at trial. If so, your attorney would need to prove to the court that the footage is admissible under the Florida Rules of Evidence. It might require hiring an expert witness to authenticate the footage to ensure that the video was not altered in any way.
What Should I Do After a Tampa Car Accident?
The moments following a car accident can be confusing and overwhelming.
Things to remember that can help you protect your rights include:
- Always report accidents to the police immediately
- Do not admit fault or apologize for the accident
- Avoid discussing the accident with the other driver or witnesses
- Take photographs and make a video of the accident scene
- Seek prompt medical treatment for injuries, even if you believe your injuries to be minor
- Do not agree to recorded conversations or statements with the insurance company
- Seek legal advice from an experienced Tampa personal injury lawyer as soon as possible
A serious car accident could result in catastrophic injuries. Victims may incur substantial medical bills and lost wages. They may experience intense pain and suffering that could continue for the rest of their lives if they sustain a permanent impairment.
A Tampa car accident lawyer can help you seek compensation for your damages. Since attorneys offer free consultations, talking with a lawyer about your case costs nothing.
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 personal injury lawyer in Tampa today. We have five convenient locations in Florida, including Tampa, Clearwater, St. Petersburg, New Port Richey, and Lakeland.
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