Is Dash Cam Footage Admissible in Court?

Dash cam footage is becoming more and more popular in vehicles. As a result, there have been questions on whether or not dash cam footage can be used as evidence for a case. After all, dash cam footage could be compelling evidence of fault and the extent of damages sustained in an automobile accident injury case. Let’s take a look at whether dash cam footage is admissible in court.

Can I Use Dash Cam Footage in My Personal Injury Case?

An increasing number of people are opting to install dash cams in their vehicles in the hopes of the recording device working to protect their legal rights and act as evidence of fault in the event of a car crash occurring. Dash cams are video recording devices. Sometimes they come with audio recordings as well. They are installed in vehicles and will start recording automatically when the vehicle is turned on. Most commonly, they are hardwired directly into the vehicle’s electrical system. The recorded video is stored on an SD card.

New York permits the use of dash cams as there are no specific laws on the books that would prohibit their use. While they are generally considered to be legal, however, there are still a few things to keep in mind before you install one in your own vehicle. First, it is always prudent to check with local authorities to make sure that they are permitted in your area. There may be some local laws or regulations that may prohibit the use of dash cams. Furthermore, you should be mindful that dash cams will be subject to the same rules and regulations that are applicable to other forms of video recording in the state of New York. For instance, in New York, it is illegal to record someone without their consent. It is also illegal to record conversations without the consent of all parties to the conversation. Generally speaking, however, if your dash cam is focused on the roadway as opposed to being aimed at recording specific people, you should not run afoul of these privacy laws.

While a dash cam may be legal and make a legal recording, this does not necessarily mean that the video footage will be admissible in court. It is important to first make it clear that dash cam footage may be admissible in court, but the video footage must first be deemed accurate and dependable. It must also be determined that the footage has not been altered in any way. You will need to make a statement under oath that the footage is authentic and is an accurate portrayal of what occurred in the accident. Should you lie or omit key facts, you can be charged with perjury.

Central New York Personal Injury Attorneys

At CDH Law, our team launches detailed investigations into your accident and injury claim. This includes reviewing relevant evidence, including dash cam footage. We do this so we can provide you with the best in trusted legal representation. Contact us today.

Ask the Attorney: I was on my phone at the time of an accident—does that mean I’m automatically at fault?

Sometimes, who is at fault for causing a car accident is unclear. In fact, both drivers may have played a part in causing the accident. If this is the case, New York’s comparative negligence law is likely to come into play. While New York is a no-fault state, comparative negligence is often a confusing concept for both sides of an accident. This blog will give an overview of comparative negligence.

If You Were on Your Phone at the Time of the Accident, Are You at Fault in New York?

Being in a car accident can be traumatic. It can also be stressful and complicated. On top of dealing with accident injuries and everything else, you may be worried about who will be at fault for causing the accident. This may be especially true if you were on the phone at the time of the accident. After all, New York does recognize this to be dangerous driving behavior. In fact, New York law mandates that all drivers use hands-free devices when talking on cell phones and driving. Furthermore, texting and other comparable usage of handheld messaging devices is prohibited for all drivers.

As being on your phone and driving has been recognized as a risky driving behavior, it may very well be the case that you are found to be at least partially at fault for causing any subsequent accident. You will not, however, be found to be automatically at fault for causing the accident. Fault is a fact-specific determination that requires weighing all of the circumstances surrounding the accident. You being on your phone will only be one such factor.

So, what does fault determination have to do with available compensation after an accident? Well, New York is a no-fault state. That means drivers carry no-fault insurance which will provide insurance coverage for things like medical costs and lost wages following an accident regardless of who was at fault for causing the accident. If your no-fault insurance is insufficient to properly compensate you for the damages you sustained in the accident, you may be considering going after the insurance coverage of the other driver. This is where fault for the accident would come into play.

You may be found to be partially at fault for causing the accident because you were on your phone. Fortunately, this does not mean you will be barred from recovering from the other at-fault driver. New York is a pure comparative negligence state. This means that an injured person can recover against another person found to be partially at fault for causing an accident. This means that even if you are found to be 50% or more at fault for an accident, you will still be able to recover against the other at-fault driver. Your damage award will, however, be reduced by the percentage of fault you are assigned by the jury.

Central New York Personal Injury Attorneys

If you were on your phone at the time of a New York car accident, do not give up hope. You are still likely to have options for recovering full and fair compensation for the harm you have suffered. Reach out to the team at CDH Law. Contact us today.

Personal Injury Claims in a Hit and Run Accident—What Should I Do?

A hit and run accident can be very traumatic and, often, accident victims don’t know what their next step should be. Here, we will go into the next steps of a hit and run accident.

Steps to Immediately Take After a Hit and Run Accident

The steps you take immediately following an accident can be critical to protecting your legal rights to seek compensation for the harm you have suffered and to help ensure you properly heal from your accident injuries. The situation may be even more complicated following a hit and run accident since you may not be able to pursue insurance benefits from someone else for your losses.

After a hit and run accident, make sure you get yourself to a safe place. Lingering in the roadway can lead to further incidences on top of what you have already been through. Call 911 so that police are dispatched to the scene and, should anyone need medical assistance, emergency medical personnel as well. In the meantime, take pictures of the accident scene and document as much as possible. Get the names and contact information of any witnesses to the accident.

You should also make sure to write down any details of the accident that you remember while your memories are still fresh. Did you note any identifying characteristics of the vehicle or vehicle driver that hit you? Did you notice the make and model of their car? Write everything down. Even the smallest of details can help law enforcement track down the vehicle that hit you and fled the scene.

You should also be sure to contact your insurance carrier. You are contractually obligated to do so and will need to notify them of the accident in order for your coverage to kick in. If the at-fault driver who fled the scene is never identified, you will come to rely even more on your own insurance coverage to compensate you for your accident damages. If you have uninsured motorist coverage (UM) these benefits should kick in to help cover your expenses since the unidentified hit and run driver was not found. You see, UM coverage is not just available when you are in an accident caused by an uninsured driver. It is also available in the event of a hit and run accident where the other party fled the scene and was never identified.

We know this seems like a lot, but you can do it. These are all things that will be critical to your pursuit of a personal injury claim. To help ensure that you are properly compensated for your injuries and that you properly recover from your injuries, go seek emergency medical treatment and comply with your doctor’s recommended follow-up treatment paths. This will help you properly recover from your injuries and also provide medical evidence of your accident injuries which will be vital in your personal injury claim.

Central New York Personal Injury Attorneys

If you have been in a hit and run accident, you do not have to do this alone. The team at CDH Law is here for you. Contact us today.

The Dangers of Tired Drivers

In a society that never seems to stop, it is no wonder that tired drivers plague our roads every day. We seem to be busier than ever and encouraged to push ourselves beyond our limits. The result? People seem to be more fatigued than ever. Fatigue can have devastating impacts on our health, quality of life, and our safety. Consider, for instance, the dangers of tired drivers pose to the rest of us on the road. Let’s take a closer look at that here.

Drowsy Driving Puts Others at Risk

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has made a commitment to examining the dangers associated with drowsy driving and working to prevent such dangers from putting drivers at risk. NHTSA estimates that, in 2017 alone, there were 91,000 police-reported crashes that involved drowsy drivers. This, however, could be a severe underestimation. Those in the traffic safety, sleep science, and public health communities are in broad agreement that the actual number of those injured each year by drowsy drivers is likely much higher than estimates proclaim. This is due, in great part, to the fact that it is difficult for crash investigators to pin down drowsy driving as the cause of a car crash. They can look for drowsiness clues, but these are often elusive or inconclusive.

There are a number of dangers associated with drowsy driving. After all, drowsy drivers often have slower reaction times, struggle with reflexes, and have an inability to effectively identify dangers on the road in enough time to adequately respond to or avoid them. In this way, drowsy driving mimics driving while intoxicated. The impact drowsiness will have on a driver can also vary greatly depending on the amount of sleep that is lacking. Any level of drowsiness, however, can be dangerous and exponentially increase the likelihood of the drowsy driver causing a crash on the roadway.

Drowsiness has a clear impact on a person’s judgment. It also impacts their physical state of being. On top of all of this, lack of sleep can impact a person emotionally as well. It has been found that drowsy drivers can be more susceptible to sudden bursts of road rage than other, better-rested, calmer drivers.

To help avoid being a dangerous drowsy driver, make sure you are getting enough sleep. Avoid drinking any amount of alcohol before driving as this can exacerbate any fatigue you may already be feeling. You should also be sure to check any prescription medication or over-the-counter medication you may be taking as there may be drowsiness side effect warnings on these labels. It can also be best practice to avoid driving between what has been established as “peak sleepiness” periods. You are more likely to encounter fatigued drivers on the road between the hours of midnight and 6 a.m. and in the late afternoon.

Personal Injury Attorneys

Have you been injured in a crash caused by a drowsy driver? Reach out to the team at CDH Law for assistance enforcing your right to full and fair compensation. Contact us today.