Was your car accident caught on a highway traffic camera?
In this day and age, cameras are everywhere. In fact, you’d probably be surprised by the number of video cameras that catch your commute on a daily basis. But how easy is it to obtain a copy of this footage?
We’ve all noticed them: video cameras along highways, at red lights, toll plazas, and even on buses. While there are many reasons why these cameras exist (e.g., law enforcement, monitoring traffic congestion, number plate recognition), understand that the entities which own the cameras are not in the business of finding and providing this footage to the general public, so the ease with which one can retrieve this kind of evidence generally depends on a number of factors.
The first thing you’ll want to take into consideration is the different potential sources of video, and this depends largely on where your accident occurred. Were you at an intersection equipped with red light cameras? Were you on a highway or major thoroughfare? Were there any nearby businesses which may have outdoor surveillance cameras? If you’re unsure, look up the location on Google StreetView and consider all possibilities.
Traffic cameras & red light cameras.
When it comes to highway traffic cameras and red light cameras, your chances of obtaining a copy of the video without the help of an attorney are unfortunately slim. You’re most-likely going to be dealing with a number of public and private entities that have specific requirements when it comes to releasing footage. Some highway traffic cameras are owned by TxDOT while others are owned by the toll authority. Click here for a map of State-owned traffic cameras.
There’s no harm in asking for a copy of the video, but they will likely deny your request simply because they are not obligated to do so and because they do not want to put the man-hours into tracking down the relevant portion of video.
That being said, if you have an attorney (which is ALWAYS recommended if you’ve suffered an injury), inform them of this potential piece of evidence as soon as possible. Your attorney can issue a subpoena seeking the release of said footage, but it’s important to act quickly as these cameras often erase old data after a certain period of time.
If you do not currently have an attorney, I would advise that you at least discuss your concerns with an attorney through a free over-the-phone consultation. The advice is free, and if you have a potential personal injury claim, most attorneys will handle your case for no cost to you (on a no-win, no-fee basis).
Private business surveillance cameras.
If you have a strong belief that your car accident was captured by a CCTV surveillance camera located on private property (e.g., Walmart, gas station, etc.), you stand a better chance of finding someone who is willing to help. Private businesses also have no obligation to provide this footage to you without a subpoena, but a friendly request can go a long way.
Some businesses and larger stores have strict stipulations on how and when they share this video, and if you run into a roadblock, discuss your options with an experienced car accident lawyer.
Dash cams & other sources.
Everyone knows police cruisers are equipped with dash cams, but personal dash cams have also become increasingly popular in the last few years. Be sure to ask any witnesses to the accident if they had a dashboard camera recording. While admittedly a long shot, some people have even stumbled across footage of their accident uploaded to YouTube mere days afterward.
If you believe the car crash was caught on a nearby police car’s dash cam, you may have to jump through a few hoops in order to obtain the video footage. First, you will have to identify the officer(s) by their name, designation and badge numbers, craft a letter explaining your intent, and then send it to the related precinct, after which you will wait for a response.
It is important to note that police dash cams and bus cameras aren’t always recording. Additionally, due to limited resources, it is not uncommon for these entities to record over older footage. This is why it’s so important to act fast when attempting to preserve this vital evidence.
Personal dashcams are incredibly cheap nowadays, and if nothing else, this experience should show you that spending $50 on a dash cam now can save you a considerable amount of trouble down the road.
Can a lawyer help?
If you were injured in a car crash, it’s definitely worth your while to at least seek out a free over-the-phone consultation with an attorney in your area. While we understand the urge to want to handle your own case, know that the insurance company will not play nice when it comes to your injury claim. While property-damage-only claims are pretty straight forward, accompanying personal injury claims are not!
By hiring an attorney (which, again, will cost you nothing out of pocket), you’re ensuring that you have the best chance at a successful outcome. At Rasansky Law Firm, our attorneys will make sure you’re not taken advantage of, and will handle your claim from beginning to end. Our job is to make sure you’re compensated for every penny you’re owed, and we take this responsibility seriously.
When it comes to car crashes, time is of the essence. Getting in touch with a good accident attorney from day one will go a long way in collecting relevant evidence, proving negligence, demonstrating the true value of your case, and winning compensation. Please call us today at 1-877-405-4313 for your free consultation.
Speak With a Dallas Accident Attorney For Free
The attorneys at Rasansky Law Firm are happy to speak to you about your potential case free of charge. If we can help with your claim, we’ll do so for no out-of-pocket cost to you. Call us 24/7 at (214) 651-6100, or toll-free at 1-877-405-4313.