Video cameras kept on the dashboard, often called dashcams, are becoming increasingly common. People often have dashcams just in case they are in an accident. The video footage from the dashcam might be admissible as evidence.
Under the right circumstances, dashcam footage may be admissible evidence in a lawsuit after an accident. The key is making sure the dashcam footage meets the numerous evidentiary rules imposed by the courts. If the dashcam footage is relevant to your claims and accurately depicts how the accident occurred, it is likely admissible. Dashcam footage might be inadmissible if it violates certain evidentiary rules. As such, you should review the footage with your attorney to make sure it is admissible. You should also discuss the possible risks of using this footage, as it might show how the defendant is not responsible or how you might be partially responsible.
For legal assistance and a free, private case evaluation, call Rice, Murtha & Psoras at (410) 694-7291 and speak to our Maryland car accident lawyers.
Using Dashcam Video Footage in a Maryland Car Accident Case
Dashcams are video cameras people place somewhere in their vehicles, often on the dashboard. These cameras might be facing the windshield or the vehicle’s occupants. You might have cameras facing both ways. The point of a dashcam is to record everything that happens behind the wheel and on the road. This footage is often crucial in accident cases.
Dashcam footage is generally admissible in civil lawsuits for car accidents. It should be admissible as long as the video footage accurately depicts the accident and can be authenticated. This is important, as dashcam footage might be very persuasive evidence, depending on what the videos contain.
You do not necessarily have to use your own dashcam footage. In many accidents, multiple drivers, including the other driver who hit or other cars that passed by the accident, have dashcams that record important details. If our Maryland personal injury lawyers can get this footage, we can use it in your lawsuit.
Making Sure Dashcam Footage is Admissible in Maryland Car Accident Cases
Admitting dashcam footage is easy as long as it meets specific criteria for admissibility. Generally, dashcam videos that can be verified or authenticated, are recorded on public roads, and are relevant to your claims should be admissible as long as no other evidentiary rules are violated. Many plaintiffs have no trouble meeting these requirements, although you should talk to your lawyer about potential roadblocks to admissibility.
A major issue regarding dashcam videos and video evidence generally is authenticating the videos. We need to prove that the videos were recorded in the same place and time as the accident and that the footage is not altered, edited, or incomplete. Video footage, especially digital footage, can be easily edited, and defendants might accuse plaintiffs of doctoring footage to make them look bad.
We can present raw digital files to the court and the defendant to prove that the video footage is unaltered. If necessary, we can even have witnesses review the video footage and testify about the location, people, and vehicles depicted in the video. There are various ways in which we can authenticate the video footage.
The videos should also be relevant. Dashcam footage from before or after but not during the accident might be challenged for relevance. Does the defendant even make an appearance in the video? Is there anything in the video that tends to show the defendant is liable? If the answer is no, we might be in trouble.
Is Dashcam Footage Ever Considered Inadmissible Evidence in Maryland Car Accident Cases?
When exactly can dashcam footage not be verified? Authenticating these videos is necessary to have them admitted as evidence. You might run into situations where the videos cannot be verified or verification is fraught with complications.
One possibility is that the video footage is incomplete. For example, you might have a dashcam recording in your car, but it was knocked to the floor during the accident and did not record much of the other drivers on the road. In that case, it might be hard to prove that the accident in your lawsuit is the same accident depicted in the video. If most of the video is a recording of the floor of your car, the footage might be challenged and excluded from evidence.
Another possibility is that the video footage is corrupted. Suppose you and multiple witnesses reviewed the video from your dashcam, but the video was accidentally deleted, or the file became corrupt and unusable. Getting witnesses on the stand to explain what they saw in the video might be difficult because their testimony may be considered hearsay. You cannot verify evidence that is not present in court.
If you suspect your dashcam video might not be useable in court, talk to your lawyer about it. There might be other ways to get the information from the video into court.
Risks of Using Dashcam Footage as Evidence in Maryland Car Accident Cases
Dashcam footage is not without risks. You might not realize it, but your videos might contain details that actually make you look like the bad guy. Before taking any dashcam footage to court, you should review it with your lawyer. It is possible that the video shows you doing or saying something that might be used against you.
The video might show that the defendant was not at fault, or at least not entirely. For example, the dashcam might pick up audio of you and your passenger talking and joking about speeding or doing something reckless on the road. While this does not definitively prove you were speeding when the accident happened and partially caused the crash, it is somewhat damning to your case.
Call Our Maryland Car Accident Attorneys About Using Your Dashcam Footage as Evidence
Call Rice, Murtha & Psoras at (410) 694-7291 and speak to our Baltimore car accident attorneys for legal assistance and a free, private case assessment.