Dash cams first gained popularity in Russia due to widespread insurance fraud. Now popular throughout Europe, except for a few countries where they are illegal, and Asia, dash cams are also gaining popularity here in the US. This blog explores the effect of dash cam videos on litigation involving motor vehicle accidents.
If a picture is worth a thousand words, then what is a dash cam video worth? Take a motor vehicle accident involving two vehicles. Each driver blames the other for the accident and makes a claim against the other driver. In the normal course of litigation, depositions of each driver are taken. Likewise, in the normal course of a claims investigation, recorded statements and examinations under oath (EUOs) may be taken. Unless there are witnesses, questions regarding liability (i.e. who is at fault) becomes a “he said, she said” affair.
But what if one of the drivers in the scenario above had a dash cam that captured video of the accident in question? Let’s go a step further and assume that the video footage clearly captured the accident. With respect to litigation, such footage would be admissible in court as long as it has not been altered and the driver whose dash cam captured the video is able to testify in court that the footage truly and accurately captured the events. If the footage clearly shows that the other driver was at fault, then consider it a nail in the coffin with respect to liability.
Similarly, such clear footage could actually prevent a lawsuit as it would give definitive proof to each driver’s automobile insurance company as to who was at fault. By the same token, dash cam footage could also work against you if you were the one at fault in causing the accident.
Like it or not, the digital age is slowly taking over our lives. Use of dash cams is one area that will potentially reshape the legal industry.