Maryland gained hundreds of red light enforcement cameras in recent years as highway authorities tackled intersection safety. If you get into a car accident with a traffic camera in Maryland the video footage may prove vital in a lawsuit. Although traffic camera information is often important evidence in a Maryland car accident lawsuit, it’s not always easy or straightforward to obtain from police departments or cities. An experienced Maryland car wreck lawyer can request this information on your behalf. Please contact us today for a free consultation if you or a family member was hurt at an intersection.
Although traffic cameras are becoming more and more popular in Maryland, many motorists don’t understand how they work. Baltimore car accident lawyer Randolph Rice explains how traffic camera footage can influence a collision lawsuit in Maryland.
How Do Traffic Cameras Work in Maryland?
Local authorities across Maryland fitted red light enforcement cameras at certain intersections to deter drivers who blow through red lights and cause accidents. The cameras take pictures of cars, trucks, vans, and motorcycles that violate the signal. The drivers receive citations that carry a $75 fine. A judge has the authority to increase the fine to $100 and to impose court costs on the driver.
These are civil rather than criminal violations. Red light runners do not receive points on their licenses for traffic camera infractions. Vehicle insurance providers are not notified of speed camera citations. A violation does not affect insurance premiums.
The use of red light cameras is authorized by the Maryland General Assembly under Transportation Article 21-202.1. The State Highway Administration said the use of Maryland’s “Drive to Survive” red light cameras followed more than 21,700 crashes caused by the failure to obey a traffic signal in a 10-year period.
Red light cameras are found at 15 locations in Baltimore County, according to Baltimore County Government. Montgomery and Prince George counties have about 50 cameras each.
Traffic cameras are not only a deterrent for red light runners and a way for local authorities to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars. They are increasingly becoming a useful tool in personal injury litigation.
When is Traffic Camera Evidence Used in a Maryland Car Accident Lawsuit?
Traffic camera evidence provides important information after a car wreck. Take a scenario in which two cars collide at an intersection controlled by a traffic signal. The accident caused injuries and there were no witnesses. This is a common scenario at many intersections in rural areas or when cars collide late at night.
When the police officer shows up at the accident scene, both drivers tell him they had the green light. In the absence of eyewitness information, the officer will likely charge neither driver. However, that does not mean neither driver was at fault. If the light was working properly, one of the drivers ran a red light or made a turn without having the right of way.
If the police officer decides to charge one driver, he may be on shaky legal ground and making an arbitrary judgment call with little evidence.
When each driver attempts to make an insurance claim, the lack of evidence of liability against the other party may frustrate the claim. Even a personal injury lawyer faces an uphill task gathering evidence in the absence of eyewitness testimony. The cross-examination of parties at deposition hearings may uncover further answers.
If you get into an accident with a traffic camera in Maryland it’s a different story. The impartial camera evidence will usually show which car had the right of way at the intersection and which driver ran a red light. Unless both drivers committed traffic violations, the camera evidence should clearly establish fault. This is invaluable in personal injury claims.
How Can Accident Victims Retrieve Video Surveillance Footage?
Although people who end up hurt in car accidents can benefit from traffic camera evidence, they don’t always know how to obtain it. It’s not always obvious if an intersection is equipped with cameras. How do you get the important footage needed for your case? The most obvious answer is to hire an attorney to do it for you.
If you see cameras at the accident scene, make a note. One of the first things you should do after getting medical help is to hire a Baltimore personal injury lawyer who is familiar with the accident scene.
Most intersections in Maryland do not have a camera. The cameras looking devices on the tops of the traffic lights are not usually cameras. They are sensors that determine if a vehicle is present in the intersection. The cameras help control the lighting sequence and do not provide video footage.
Obtaining camera footage from the relevant local authority can be difficult. Police are not obligated to tell you anything about traffic cameras after your accident. It’s not always obvious which agency holds the footage or how long it can be kept for. However, an experienced car accident lawyer is adept at obtaining this kind of information.
If the case is in litigation, the lawyer can issue a subpoena. If the case is not in litigation, camera footage may be obtained by filing a public records request.
People who were involved in car accidents face many challenges. They are dealing with their injuries, the insurance company, and issues like property damage claims. Obtaining footage from traffic cameras is too complicated and difficult for many people.
A personal injury lawyer may request camera footage from other sources such as closed-circuit video from businesses at the intersection that may have captured the crash.
Contact an Experienced Intersection Accident Lawyer in Maryland
For many people involved in car wrecks, traffic camera footage often proves to be the smoking gun that makes or breaks a case. It’s important to hire an experienced Maryland car accident lawyer to help you obtain this evidence and use it to full effect. Even if you successfully gain access to camera footage, you may not know how to use it to make a powerful case against the at-fault driver.
If you were injured in a car crash at an intersection, traffic camera evidence may be available that helps your case. Call the Law Office of Randolph Rice for a free consultation today at (410) 288-2900.