Very little is more critical than surveillance footage when deciding on a car accident case. An objective record of exactly what happened is the best evidence you could ask for, but it can hurt you just as much as it helps you. It is used to determine who is at fault and to what extent.
As long as you are not the one to blame, a reliable video of the events is what can secure your legal victory. Unfortunately, it can also be used by insurance companies to cheat you out of your proper compensation. With an injury, there are good days and bad days.
If they can secure video “proof” that you are not as hurt as you claim you are, they will use it to pay you as little as they can. Surveillance footage is critical, so it is important to understand what types can be used to decide these cases and how your Oklahoma car accident attorney can protect you.
Dash Cam Footage
Dash cams are becoming increasingly popular, and as time goes on, more vehicles are equipped with them. They are small cameras mounted inside or outside a vehicle, recording what is happening around it. They are legal in every state, and police officers are required to have them in many cases, but some do have regulations on whether or not they can be used as legal evidence.
They also sometimes record audio, which could include conversations from within the car that might be incriminating or violate the passengers’ rights. That same audio can be useful evidence either for or against you, as it can reveal the actions and mindset of the driver going into the crash.
Suppose you live in a state where dashcam footage is admissible. In that case, it is entirely possible that the case will be heavily impacted by either your recording or that of the opposing driver, as well as the insurance company.
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Surveillance Footage from Private Investigators
As surprising as it may seem, it is entirely legal for an insurance company to hire a private investigator to spy on you. As long as the investigator acts within the law, they can gather as much footage as they want. Insurance companies can be hesitant to pay out your owed amount and tend to look for ways to discredit your claim.
Their goal is to attack your credibility, usually by trying to prove you are not as injured as you say. If they gather footage of you, it is incredibly easy to cherry-pick moments that can seriously impact the perceived validity of your insurance claim, so if you suspect you are being followed, you must be careful.
Be mindful of what you do and say in public, and always follow your doctor’s instructions. Your lawyer is your biggest ally, acting just as aggressively in protecting your claim. Perhaps they can even prove the investigator crossed legal or ethical lines, turning the tables on them.
Social Media Posts
It can be tempting to believe your social media presence is private, but nothing could be further from the truth. Insurance companies and defense attorneys regularly search those filing an insurance claim’s social media pages to try and discredit them.
Any posts or videos suggesting you may not be as injured as you claim or that you may have had some part in it can and will be used against you in court. When involved in a car accident case, it is wise to avoid posting or at least set your accounts to private. While the case is ongoing, you will also want to make sure those close to you do not post or say anything that might make you look bad.
If you must post at all, be sure to word everything carefully and closely watch what is said about you. However, absolutely do not delete anything because very little looks worse than destroying evidence, even if the deleted post in question has nothing to do with your case.
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Security Cameras from Nearby
If your car accident happened in a commercial district, chances are high that one of the nearby businesses caught some part of it on their own surveillance cameras. If the insurance company chooses to investigate the scene, they will almost certainly ask around for any pertinent footage.
That can include traffic cameras, local businesses, and government buildings. Keep in mind that your lawyer can seek out this footage just as easily as theirs, so you can make it work for you. The more complete a picture of the accident can be put together, the better the jury can understand and rule on what happened. Most businesses erase their security tapes regularly, so acting on this as soon as possible is best.
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Depending on the location and time of day, there could be several witnesses to your accident. A witness is not obligated legally to stick around and help, but if you can find one or two willing to share their account and possible recording, it can be a huge help.
Oftentimes these days, several of these witnesses will have phone recordings of the event, which, with their permission, can be used in the case. If you are able, get the contact information of whoever you can find after the accident, and your lawyer can contact them when their testimony is needed. It could make a big difference in the outcome if they are willing to speak in court.
Take Advantage of a Car Accident Attorney’s Tools
In a car accident case, a dedicated car accident lawyer is your best option. They can find what footage is legally admissible in court and use it to help your case, and they can also help fight back against the evidence used against you. They will advise you through the entire process, which could be the difference between a huge win and a major loss.
The professionals at BDIW Law are experienced, top-rated personal injury lawyers serving Oklahoma. They have the skills and know-how to carry you through your car accident case, helping you against the insurance companies. If you need help, start with a free consultation by calling or completing our online contact form.
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