One of the first steps to take after a car accident is to gather evidence at the scene and contact your attorney to get footage from traffic cameras in the area. The reason for this is that you’ll need time to schedule and attend your original consult and still give the attorney time to draft and send the spoliation letters to any camera owners or operators in the area. Typically, camera footage from traffic lights or security cameras is erased systematically. A subpoena may come later in the process, but the letters need to be delivered immediately to prevent evidence from being erased inadvertently.
If you are able to secure video to corroborate witness statements or prove that the other driver broke a traffic law or was driving recklessly, it will greatly help your lawsuit against him or her. That makes it important to act quickly to ensure that your evidence isn’t recorded over in the few days following the accident.
Collecting the Evidence: How to Get Footage from Traffic Cameras
Even though a security camera, traffic camera, or red light camera may have captured a motor vehicle accident, that does not mean the individual or entity that owns the camera is obligated to provide the recording. Whether it’s a government-owned traffic camera or a privately operated security camera, it’s necessary to follow formal evidence collection procedures. This often means the recording must be subpoenaed.
Knowing how to get footage from traffic cameras can help you prove your accident case. Traffic cameras can record a wide range of information that can be used to establish fault when a crash occurs at an intersection. Recordings from these devices can be used to show that a vehicle was speeding, ran a red light, or performed an illegal turn. When available, a Las Vegas accident attorney can subpoena these recordings from the camera owner or city agency responsible for their operation.
After the subpoenas are issued, and your video evidence is secured, your attorney will be able to utilize it, along with any other evidence collected, to better argue your lawsuit against the driver who injured you and ensure that your interests are protected.
Process of Securing Footage from Traffic Cameras
The first step in determining what, if any, footage is available will be to investigate the site of the accident to locate any cameras that may have captured footage of the accident itself or events leading up to the accident. Once cameras are located, your attorney will determine whether they belong to the municipality for red light cameras, the police department for dash camera footage, or private residence or business owners for security camera footage.
The attorney will need to contact the municipality, department, or owner to determine if there may be footage available. If there is a possibility that footage exists that may be evidence of the fault in your accident, the spoliation letter or letters will be drafted. These letters must include the approximate time, date, and location of the accident, along with language demanding that the video be retained for future litigation. These letters will be sent by certified mail to confirm receipt. After the letters are sent, your attorney will follow up with the camera owners to verbally confirm that they received the letters and are complying with the need to retain the videos.
Some camera owners may require a subpoena from the court to turn over the camera footage. This doesn’t necessarily indicate a lack of cooperation, the footage owner may simply be protecting themselves from any liability. If you’ve hired an attorney to represent you and secure the footage, he or she will have included all relevant and required information in the spoliation letter, and will be able to formally request a subpoena as part of your lawsuit as well. Experienced personal injury and accident attorneys do this work regularly and will have processes in place to ensure that no evidence pertaining to your accident is lost.
The Value of Evidence from Security & Traffic Cameras
A photo is worth a thousand words, but a video recording is a full novel. Traffic cameras can show that a driver was speeding, intoxicated, driving aggressively, performing an illegal turn, failed to yield, or driving distracted. Impartial and without a failing memory, video recordings are among the most reliable forms of evidence following a motor vehicle collision in Nevada. In cases of hit-and-run accidents, traffic cameras may help track down the liable party.
Do Traffic Cameras Record Accidents?
Cameras are an ever-present part of life in modern America. Cameras are positioned along major thoroughfares, city streets, parking lots, private homes, dangerous intersections, businesses, and many other locations. When an accident occurs, there is a good chance that there is footage of the crash. Thus, it is important to carefully inspect the scene of the accident to determine whether a camera was present that may corroborate eyewitness statements, police reports, accident damage, and other evidence.
How Long Do Traffic Cameras Keep Footage?
It is imperative to act quickly following a motor vehicle collision. Most government and private entities only maintain recordings for 2-3 days before the recordings are looped and recorded over. To prevent the willful or accidental spoliation of evidence in a car accident claim, a personal injury attorney in Las Vegas can send the individual or entity a spoliation letter notifying them that they possess evidence of a motor vehicle accident and that this evidence will be subpoenaed. This letter will instruct them not to destroy, damage, or interfere with the investigation and use of this evidence. This letter is vital because without it the entity is not legally obligated to provide a copy of their recording.