How dash cam footage can help with personal injury claims
One of the most challenging aspects of a personal injury claim can be proving fault, especially when the emotion, and sometimes trauma, of the event means that parties have different accounts of what happened. This is especially true with serious road traffic accidents, but with more vehicles now having dash cams, video footage is proving to be invaluable evidence.
What is a dash cam?
A dash cam, as the name suggests, is a camera that sits on a vehicle’s dashboard or is fixed to the windscreen. In most cases, it automatically turns on when the car is started and records everything that happens on the road in front of the vehicle whilst it is in use. You can also get rear view dash cams that record what happens behind the car, which can be incredibly useful should someone drive into the back of your vehicle.
Like with other cameras, the footage is stored on an internal SD card and is usually timestamped, making it difficult for the owner to ‘tamper’ with any evidence it might record. The impartial nature of this type of footage means that personal injury solicitors, insurance companies and the police regularly use it in evidence to support (or reject) a claim after an accident.
An increase in dash cam use
In today’s world, where we rely heavily on cameras and video footage, such as Ring doorbells and home CCTV, to make us feel safe, it’s no surprise that dash cams are becoming increasingly popular. In fact, according to research by What Car in 2020, it’s estimated that around a quarter of UK drivers have a dash cam fitted in their car or motorcycle.
However, dash cams are not only beneficial for the everyday driver needing back up in the event of an accident or even a ‘crash for cash’ incident; commercial vehicle companies are increasingly installing them as a way of keeping their employees safe and to protect their business in the event of a claim.
Can dash cam footage be used in personal injury claims?
Like with CCTV, dash cam footage provides independent and impartial evidence for the police, insurance companies and personal injury solicitors when trying to piece together the circumstances of an accident on the road. The majority of personal injury claims are settled out of court, however, if a case does go to court, dash cam evidence can be used with the owner’s permission.
Dash cam evidence is particularly valuable in claims involving vulnerable road users such as pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists, especially where they have been seriously injured or killed, and cannot provide an account of what happened.
In fact, our personal injury solicitors recently helped a cyclist to claim compensation after they were knocked off their bike by a car, and a witness’ dash cam footage provided evidence in their favour.
Case study: dash cam footage provides invaluable evidence in cycling accident claim
Our personal injury lawyers recently acted for a young man who was knocked off his bike during a cycle race.
The man was cycling along the road when a car driving in the opposite direction, and too close to the central road line, knocked a traffic cone that had been in place to separate the main road from the cycling route, causing it to fall into the cyclist’s path. The cyclist hit the cone and fell off his bike. Our client suffered a fracture to the cervical spine which resulted in neck pain, a right, dominant arm injury, a mild traumatic brain injury and PTSD as a result of the accident.
As part of the claim, our team sought evidence to support the young man’s claim as those involved had differing accounts of what happened. Luckily, a passing driver had witnessed the accident and had dash cam footage, which he showed the police and sent to our solicitors to use as evidence. Not only was this valuable in providing an impartial picture of what happened, but it saved our team hours of time on proving liability.
The disadvantages of dash cams
Dash cam evidence is beneficial when proving fault, and in the case of personal injury claims, helping to claim compensation for an accident that wasn’t a person’s fault. However, dash cam footage can show that what actually happened is different from how you remember and can disprove your claim.
In car accident claims, dash cam footage has been known to highlight ‘contributory negligence’, for example, where the driver (who believes they were not at fault or was a witness) was on the phone at the time of the incident or had been over the speed limit.
Get in touch with our personal injury solicitors
If you have been involved in an incident on the road that wasn’t your fault, as a cyclist, pedestrian or motorcyclist, you may be able to claim compensation. For an initial chat, call our personal injury solicitors on 0117 325 2929 or complete our online enquiry form.