dashcam footage in a car accident

How Dashcam Footage Can Impact a Car Accident Case

Car accidents have increased significantly during the past couple of years. In fact, a recent report from the US Department of Transportation revealed that vehicle accident fatalities increased by 18.4% during the first half of 2021, the largest six-month increase ever recorded. An estimated 20,160 people were killed in auto accidents during the first half of last year, which was the highest projected number of fatalities during this time period since 2006.

When someone gets seriously injured or a loved one is killed in a car crash, it can be difficult to prove that the responsible party was liable. Motorists who cause auto accidents do not usually own up to their wrongdoing right away, and you can be sure that their insurance company will look for any way they can to minimize the amount of compensation they have to pay. In situations like these, dashcams can play a major role in proving what actually happened to cause the crash.

Dashcams Explained

Dashboard cameras (a.k.a. dashcams) were first used in police cars as early as the 1980s, and today, they are used by millions of motorists in numerous countries around the world. Dashcams are small video cameras that can be mounted on the dashboard or windshield of the car at an angle that allows you to record what happens in the front of the vehicle.

Dashcams can be standalone devices that are plugged into the vehicle’s power source (formerly the cigarette lighter), or they can come in the form of an app that is installed on a smartphone and uses the video camera on the phone to record data. There are also models that can record audio and video inside the vehicle and footage of what is happening behind the vehicle, and some can connect directly to the internet and store video footage in the cloud.

How Dashcams Can Impact an Auto Accident Case

A dashcam can be used to capture video footage to help provide more clarity about what happened when a vehicle accident occurs. Instead of just being a “he said, she said” situation, there is now additional evidence to back up whoever is telling the truth. And as long as the footage of what happened before, during, and after the crash is clear and there is a timestamp, it is very hard to dispute what it shows.

Here are some examples of what dashcams can show about an accident:

  • The speed at which you and other vehicles were driving.
  • Which vehicle was in its proper lane in which vehicle swerved into a different lane to cause the crash.
  • Which vehicle had the right-of-way at an intersection.
  • Whether a vehicle went through a red light or ran a stop sign.

Dashcams can also help shed some light on the demeanor of the other driver who was involved in the crash. For example, the video footage might be able to show whether the driver was hostile, apologetic, or chemically impaired.

One important thing to realize about dashcams is that they do not discriminate or play favorites. They can help show how the other driver was at fault for a car accident, but if you caused or contributed to the accident, they can show that too. In this way, dashcams can serve to hold drivers who install them accountable, which might help motivate them to adopt safer driving habits.

Are Dashcams Legal in Pennsylvania?

Although dashboard cameras can prove to be very useful tools during an auto accident, they also raise privacy concerns. For this reason, most states have restrictions on how dashcams are allowed to be used. In Pennsylvania, dashcams are legal for recording video, but there are restrictions on audio recordings.

Pennsylvania’s wiretapping laws (18 PaCSA s. 5725) prohibit the recording of oral conversations without a court order or the consent of both parties. In addition, you are not allowed to mount a video screen in a way that would distract the driver. Finally, although you are generally allowed to videotape anything you want in PA, privacy laws still need to be respected. For example, if someone is changing clothes in your vehicle, you should not be recording it without that person’s consent.

Injured in an Auto Accident in PA? Contact a Reputable Pittsburgh Personal Injury Firm

If you or someone close to you suffered injury in a car accident that was someone else’s fault, you may be entitled to significant compensation. And whether you have dashcam footage of the accident or not, you will have a much better chance of recovering the compensation you deserve by working with an experienced auto accident attorney.

If your accident occurred in Pennsylvania, Caroselli, Beachler & Coleman is ready to go to work for you! To schedule a free consultation and case assessment, message us online or call our office today at 412-567-1232 or toll-free at 866-466-5789.