- Can a Personal Dashcam Help You After a Car Accident?
Can a Personal Dashcam Help You After a Car Accident?
You’ve probably seen the videos yourself. Footage taken by automatic, dashboard-mounted cameras (better known as dashcams) is becoming a familiar element in both law enforcement efforts and everyday driving experiences. Recently, dashcam footage of a fuel tanker exploding in Troy made national headlines and showcased the admirable skills of nearby drivers who miraculously avoided the catastrophe.
Another dramatic piece of mobile video — this time from a police bodycam — made national news when police officers in Utah stopped murder victim Gabby Petito and (now missing) boyfriend Brian Laundrie after the two reportedly had an altercation in their van. Subsequently, clues discerned from RV dashcam footage taken by YouTubers Kyle and Jenn Bethune assisted law enforcement officials in locating Petito’s remains.
Dashcam Video — What’s in it for You?
As you can see, advanced video technology is helping citizens safeguard themselves (and police officers solve crimes) both across the nation and here at home. At Mike Morse Injury Law Firm, we’re very accustomed to using dashcam footage to protect people from police misconduct and help our clients win large settlements. For instance, our attorney Matt Bates just settled a $4.6 million wrongful death lawsuit with the help of dashcam video to make his case.
In this incident, an 18-year-old driver crossed the center line and hit Matt’s client head-on. The negligent driver was caught in a lie when he denied he was working at the time of the crash. However, he had previously told police officers he was going to a jobsite with his co-workers. That statement was captured by a dashcam in the back of an Oakland County Sheriff’s Department car, which Matt later obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request. The ability to prove the defendant’s dishonesty became instrumental to winning the settlement from the company’s insurance provider.
Matt champions the use of dashcams, while also urging drivers to remain conscious of what they may say when on camera.
“Dashcam footage can absolutely be detrimental to a person’s case. People say things in the heat of the moment at the scene which are then documented on camera. For example, I have seen both plaintiffs and defendants just being complete jerks at the scene, which can potentially be used against them later on. I have also seen plaintiffs, who thought they were fine at the moment, tell the officer they are not hurt. Then, after the adrenaline wears off, they realize they actually are hurt. However, that footage of them saying they’re not hurt on scene can be very damaging to their case,” he said.
Why Getting Your Own Personal Dashcam Might Be a Smart Move
While we don’t endorse a particular brand or model of dashboard-mounted camera, Tom’s Guide (a website devoted to rating tech products) has recently published a review of the five best dashcams to protect your car. Other online ratings sites offer similar advice that can help you decide whether a dashcam would be useful and affordable based on your particular circumstances.
While these highly rated cameras are likely to give you good video quality, there’s one thing they can’t yet do. According to personal financial information website bankrate.com, no insurance companies are currently giving discounts to drivers who have installed dashcams in their vehicles. However, the site does note that dashcam video can help verify details of an accident, protect from insurance fraud, and possibly even help improve your driving.
While you may not save on car insurance premiums, you’ll probably be grateful you installed a dashcam should you find yourself in a situation where video is needed. Just as you’ll be happy you read this article and are aware of the top rated personal injury attorneys, auto accident attorneys, and police misconduct lawyers at the Mike Morse Law Firm. Regardless of whether you have video footage, remember — if you’re ever victimized by a negligent driver, we want you to know that we’re here to help. Give us a call at 855-MIKE-WINS (855-645-3946), or contact us here.