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Role of Dashcam Footage in Car Accident Claims in California

Written by: Imelda Bouchard

With the rise of affordable and easily accessible dashcams, more and more drivers are equipping their vehicles with these small video recording devices. Not only do they provide a sense of security on the road, but they also act as vital evidence in case of a car accident.

Evidence is vital in substantiating claims and determining fault, which is where dashcam footage can play a significant role.

Legality of Dashcams in California

Dashcams are legal in California, but their use is governed by specific laws. California Vehicle Code Section 26708 permits the installation of dashcams on windshields as long as they do not obstruct the driver's view.

Additionally, users must respect privacy laws and avoid recording audio without consent in certain situations. Adhering to these guidelines ensures the footage remains legally admissible.

Benefits of Using Dashcam Footage

Objective Evidence

One of the primary benefits of dashcam footage is its ability to provide unbiased, objective accounts of incidents.

Unlike eyewitness testimonies, which can be influenced by perception and memory, dashcam footage offers a factual representation of events. This can be particularly useful in determining fault in complex accidents, such as those involving multiple vehicles or conflicting statements from involved parties.

Accelerated Claim Process

Clear, objective evidence can significantly reduce disputes over fault, leading to quicker resolutions.

Insurance companies and legal professionals can rely on dashcam footage to expedite the settlement process, minimizing the time and stress involved for all parties.

Protection Against Fraud

Dashcams are also effective tools against fraudulent claims. They can help identify staged accidents or false injury claims, protecting honest drivers from unjust liabilities.

By providing indisputable evidence, dashcams deter fraudsters and ensure that rightful claims are honored.

Challenges and Limitations

Quality and Reliability of Footage

Despite their advantages, dashcams are not without limitations. Poor-quality footage, whether due to low-resolution cameras or adverse weather conditions, can undermine the reliability of the evidence.

Furthermore, tampered or doctored footage can raise legal admissibility concerns, potentially complicating the claim process.

Partial Coverage

Dashcams capture only what is within their field of view, leaving blind spots that might miss important aspects of an incident.

For instance, side impacts or rear-end collisions may not be fully documented, making the footage inconclusive. Therefore, while dashcam footage is valuable, it should be supplemented with other forms of evidence whenever possible.

Tips for Maximizing the Usefulness of Dashcam Footage

Choosing the Right Dashcam

Look for models with high resolution, ample storage, and good low-light performance to ensure clear and comprehensive footage.

A good rule of thumb is to see if you can recognize license plates and road signs in the footage. If the quality is too poor, then the footage may not be helpful in the event of a claim.

Proper Installation and Maintenance

Ensure the dashcam is installed correctly, positioned to capture a wide view without obstructing the driver’s vision. Regular maintenance, such as checking the camera angle and cleaning the lens, helps maintain optimal recording quality.

Dashcams typically record on a loop, overwriting older footage when storage runs out. In case of an accident, it is essential to promptly back up the footage and save it in a secure location.

Final Thoughts

Dashcam footage has become an invaluable tool in car accident claims, offering objective evidence, accelerating the claims process, and protecting against fraud. However, it is essential to recognize its limitations and supplement it with other evidence when necessary.

For drivers in California, investing in a reliable dash cam and adhering to legal guidelines can provide significant peace of mind and protection on the road.

For the steps on what to do after a car accident that's not your fault, dashcam footage plays a strong part in getting the required evidence together. 

Imelda Bouchard
Imelda Bouchard is the owner of Gov Relations. She graduated with a degree in Business Administration in Finance​ at the University of Houston-Downtown. Imelda has over a decade of experience working in the finance industry. Following her stint at an international fintech company, she has decided to create a platform where businesses can make use of great business ideas.

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