To protect your safety in response to COVID-19, we are offering the ability to meet with us via telephone or video conference.
A dashcam is just what it sounds like: a camera, often sitting on the dashboard of your car or attached to your windshield. It records as you’re driving, sometimes just showing the view ahead and occasionally filming your blind spots too. Some cars come with dashcams and motion sensors already built into the vehicle, but you can also buy one to install yourself if you decide it’s something you want.
Dashcams can be used for a variety of reasons, but holding others accountable is undoubtedly the most common purpose for purchasing one. This is because, in most cases, dashcam footage can help you in a legal case. Here’s what you need to know about dashcams and lawsuits.
Just like with security cameras on a building, dashboard camera footage can help make a legal case stronger than it would be with only witness testimonies. The use of dashcams in your vehicle is protected by Montana law, so long as it doesn’t record on private property and the recording device isn’t hidden. And in most instances, if dashcam footage is relevant to a case, it can be admissible as evidence in Montana.
Most insurance companies will consider dashcam footage when investigating a claim. In fact, some insurance companies outside of the U.S. have offered discounts to those who install them. Having this footage could become incredibly valuable when it comes to how much your insurance will cover, which benefits your insurance company. Your insurance company will have a clearer understanding of what occurred and will be more likely to support your claim if another party is clearly at fault.
With dashcam footage available, there isn’t much room to argue who is at fault in a crash. The recording shows a play-by-play for a judge or the insurance company, displaying precisely what happened in an incident.
Some dashcams are triggered by motion and viewable from your smartphone, alerting you to hit-and-runs or attempted thefts, even when you’re not in the vehicle. In the past, you would have had to hope that a person who sideswiped your car would stop and leave a note with their insurance information. Now, you don’t have to leave that up to chance.
Dashcam footage can be helpful to most careful drivers who are in the right. But if you have a penchant for speeding and aggressive maneuvers while you weave in and out of traffic, a dashcam might show a side of your driving that doesn’t actually benefit you or a legal case you’re involved in. Oftentimes, rather than showing innocence in an accident, a dashcam might actually show that you are at fault. You’ll want to weigh the possible perspectives of your footage before deciding to use it in a legal case or insurance claim.
In Montana, the law requires that nothing on the windshield should impair a driver’s view. In that case, a camera installed on the glass wouldn’t be a legal option. Still, you can find models that attach to the dashboard instead. But be sure to look into the letter of the law in your area to be able to comply.
If you have concerns about using dashcam footage in a personal injury case or additional questions, the legal professionals at Cok Kinzler can respond and provide guidance as you pursue justice after an incident. Get in touch today to schedule a consultation.