How Surveillance Footage Could Be Vital Evidence After a Car Accident

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Gathering evidence is one of the most critical factors in establishing liability if you plan to file a personal injury claim after a car accident. While many types of relevant evidence could help support your case — including police reports, photos of the scene, physician’s testimony, witness testimony, and more — surveillance footage can serve as irrefutable proof of fault in many car accident cases. As such, securing this type of evidence as soon as possible is of paramount importance to the success of your claim.

While it could be challenging to obtain traffic camera footage from intersections due to certain restrictions imposed by New York state law, it may be possible to get surveillance footage from other sources, such as private security cameras.

If you have been injured in an accident in New York, you could be entitled to claim compensation for damages related to the accident, including medical expenses, lost earnings, and more. Contact the dedicated New York car accident attorneys at Finz & Finz, P.C. today for a free consultation so we can discuss your case.

Traffic Cameras in New York

You may think that traffic cameras are capturing footage 24 hours per day, seven days per week, and if you were involved in a crash near a traffic camera, you’d be able to obtain footage from the traffic camera to prove liability. Unfortunately, it’s more complex than that.

First, not every section of the road is covered by a traffic camera. Traffic cameras exist in areas with the heaviest traffic, such as along interstate highways and highways maintained by the state. So it’s possible that a traffic camera may not even cover the section of the road where your crash occurred.

Second, although hundreds of traffic cameras are in place across New York City, these cameras are restricted in what they can do. Many traffic cameras don’t record footage. Instead, they stream footage to the Department of Transportation. While you might be able to access photos of the accident, you may not be able to get live video.

While specific speed cameras might capture a photo of a vehicle’s license plate number if the driver is speeding, speed cameras are typically restricted to school zones. They also may not necessarily demonstrate evidence of fault. Overall, traffic cameras aren’t the most reliable source of surveillance footage for your case.

However, another option may be helpful as your attorney investigates your claim and gathers evidence to support it.

CCTV and Private Cameras

While traffic cameras may not provide you with the evidence of fault you need to win your case, other surveillance camera footage could. Many places of business use CCTV cameras at their entrances to monitor for shoplifters and burglars. Many of these cameras are positioned to have a view or partial view of the street.

Suppose you were involved in an accident near a place of business such as a bodega, grocery store, retail store, or other commercial property. In that case, it’s possible, likely even, that they may have footage that could help you establish fault in your case. By capturing real-time video of your accident, CCTV cameras outside places of business could provide the solid evidence you need to prove your case.

Another reliable source of surveillance camera footage is ATMs. ATMs usually have a camera that captures the face and actions of anyone using the machine, so an ATM may inadvertently have recorded the accident if it occurred nearby.

Of course, just because the footage exists doesn’t mean it will be easy to access. For one, even though many businesses archive footage for a limited period, many also erase footage after just a few days or weeks because they no longer need it or don’t have the storage space. That’s why it is crucial to speak to an owner or manager at the location as soon as possible after the accident. If you wait too long, the footage may be gone forever.

Another issue is that some business owners may not honor your request for the footage. Certain businesses may claim that you have to go through corporate, while others may say you must speak to a specific security company. If a business owner protests, the best way to circumvent their objection is to have your lawyer contact the business.

An experienced car accident attorney will have experience gathering evidence to support car accident cases and know how to effectively persuade the business owner to provide the surveillance camera footage. Business owners are not required by law to offer you access to any surveillance footage, but having an attorney ask for the footage could improve your chances of obtaining it swiftly.

Contact a New York Car Accident Lawyer Today

Surveillance footage can be a valuable piece of evidence to bolster your case for compensation, but time is of the essence. If you have been severely injured in a car accident caused by someone else’s negligence,  reach out to one of our experienced New York and Long Island car accident lawyers at Finz & Finz, P.C. right away.

Our attorneys have the knowledge and resources to independently investigate the accident, calculate damages on your behalf, and gather evidence to help support your claim. As we collect evidence, we will swiftly pursue any possible sources of surveillance footage that may have captured your accident on video. We also have the skills and experience to help you seek the compensation you deserve. Contact us today for a free consultation to get started.