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How to Obtain Surveillance Video After Your Accident

Posted on November 8th, 2019

Surveillance videos can be valuable in the aftermath of a variety of different types of accidents. They can be sources of evidence used to determine the facts of an incident, particularly if there are no eyewitnesses or if there is a dispute as to what actually happened. Surveillance footage can help with:

Camera footage can help prove another person’s negligence and help victims of an accident receive the compensation they deserve.

Types of Cameras Capturing Surveillance

There are several types of cameras that often capture footage that can help in an accident case. Some of those include:

  • Traffic cameras or red light cameras: Many jurisdictions have an abundance of cameras monitoring traffic (and watching out for speeders). Obtaining footage from these cameras can be difficult. In some cases, local jurisdictions may use traffic cam footage as part of an accident investigation, but that may only happen in the event of a serious accident. If they do not use this footage, you will have to determine who owns and operates the camera in order to obtain the footage. These cameras could belong to a multitude of local or state government offices or to private contractors.
  • Business cameras: Many businesses and government buildings have surveillance cameras on or inside their buildings that capture incidents that happen on the roadways or in parking lots. Any crash evidence captured on these cameras is owned by the private or public entities who operate the camera. It is important to note that the footage from these cameras may be deleted in as little as 72 hours after it is taken. It is essential to act quickly to obtain this footage.
  • Private residence footage: More and more, we are learning that private residence owners have their own cameras. Some of these are traditional surveillance cameras, while others are “doorbell” cameras. This footage has helped solve crimes and prove fault in accidents all over the US.

Can a Lawyer Help Gather Surveillance?

An attorney can certainly help in these situations. While it may be possible for an individual involved in a crash to obtain surveillance camera footage on their own, that is not always the case. For government and private cameras, a subpoena may be required. A subpoena is a legally binding document that compels individuals or entities to release information outlined in the order. A personal injury attorney will know the process of filing a subpoena and will work to obtain the footage to use it in your case.

Your attorney will not only be helpful when obtaining video footage. They will also help you with all aspects of your case. This includes gathering police reports, speaking to eyewitnesses, obtaining your medical records, and negotiating a settlement with the insurance carrier.

Video footage is one part of the larger personal injury process. Surveillance camera footage can kick start negotiations and speed up the accident claim settlement.

How Common Are Accidents in Pennsylvania?

There are many accidents each year in which this footage could be helpful. During the latest reporting year in Pennsylvania, there were over 128,000 accidents. These caused more than 80,000 injuries. Aside from vehicle passenger injuries, there were:

  • 3,052 motorcyclist injuries
  • 4,106 pedestrian injuries
  • 1,127 bicyclist injuries

When there is footage of an incident, it should be available for use in an insurance case or a personal injury lawsuit.