Dashcam Evidence in Motor Vehicle Accidents
As soon as we leave our homes, we’re on camera just about everywhere we go. Cameras are on roadways, at gas stations, supermarkets, hardware stores, bus stops, train stations, and airports. You can even mount a camera to the dashboard or rearview mirror of your personal vehicle, and it can record what happened in an accident.
Are Dashcams Legal?
There is no federal law prohibiting the use of dashcams in vehicles in the United States. The general rule is that that they’re allowed in most states, so long as any voice recordings are made with the permission of the person who is speaking. The mounting of a dashcam can’t create a material obstruction of a driver’s vision. Most states allow them to be placed in the lower right corner of a car’s windshield, as long as they take up less than seven square inches of space. Those states also allow them on the left corner or center portion of a windshield so long as they don’t take up more than five square inches.
Dashcams in Disputed Liability Cases
In some accident cases, it might be difficult to prove liability. There might not be any independent witnesses or evidence, and the case is merely one person’s word against the other person’s. That makes it easier for an insurance company to push off some or all of the fault for the accident over onto an injured claimant. Dashcam’s evidence will provide a visual rendition of exactly what occurred before an accident, at the time of impact, and immediately after the impact. Dashcam evidence might be particularly useful in red light and stop sign cases. As insurance companies often deny coverage in hit-and-run claims, dashcam evidence can conclusively prove that an accident with another vehicle indeed occurred and that the vehicle that caused the crash left the scene.
Dashcam Evidence in Court
Clear and indisputable footage of what happened in an accident can cause an insurance company to reconsider its position on liability. If an insurer refuses to acknowledge what the video shows, laying a proper foundation for admission of the dashcam footage into evidence will be required. That’s a job for a dedicated and well-prepared car accident lawyer. Then, 12 people on a jury can view the footage and arrive at their own collective decision.
The Damages Issue
The fact that the evidence showing liability is strong won’t keep an opposing insurance company from disputing an injury claimant’s damages. That evidence is separate from the liability issues, and the damages alleged by a claimant must be properly put into evidence. If they’re not in evidence, a jury isn’t allowed to consider them. A skilled car accident lawyer will also be needed for purposes of the damages issue.
If another driver caused an accident that you were injured in, and you have dashcam footage of that accident, contact an experienced and reputable car accident lawyer right away and request a free consultation and case review. You can show him or her exactly what happened, and you can get answers to your questions too. Then, you can ask about all of your legal options. That dashcam footage can be worth a thousand words.
10 Steps to Take Following a Car Accident
If you are involved in a car accident, you are going to be shaken up. Even so, there are steps that you must take to ensure the safety of all concerned and to protect yourself against false claims. Unfortunately, some people will claim for more damage than occurred in a car accident, and some people will take advantage of the situation by making false personal injury claims. Here are the steps to take immediately following a car accident.
1. Stay Calm
Whoever was at fault in a car accident, your priority should be the safety of yourself, your passengers, and anyone else involved in the incident. Try to keep a cool head, and deal with the situation as calmly as you can. If you believe that the accident was not your fault, try not to get angry with the other driver. You will already have the motor vehicle accident to deal with, so you don’t want to add a road rage incident to your problems.
2. Check for Injuries
Immediately following the accident, you should check yourself and then your passengers for any sign of injury. Then you should find out if anyone else has been injured. If anyone has been hurt, then they should not be moved until the paramedics arrive. Someone injured in a car crash should not be moved unless leaving them where they are would put them in further danger.
3. Get to a Safe Place
If you are not injured, and it is safe to do so, you should get yourself and your passengers to the side of the road. If damage to your car is minor, and your vehicle is obstructing the road, you should drive your vehicle to the shoulder or the side of the road. If it is safe to do so, you might want to take photos of the crash site before you move any vehicles. However, gathering evidence must come second to safety. So, if your car is blocking a lane of traffic, it would be best to move the vehicle so that it doesn’t cause any further accidents.
4. Call 911
Unless the damage is minimal and you are sure that no one has been hurt, it is best to call the police after a car accident. In some states, you must notify the police about any motor vehicle accident. If the police attend the scene, they will document the accident and provide you with a police report, which your insurers may require to process your claim. If the police do not attend the scene, you can file your own accident report of the incident with the local police department.
5. Don’t Admit Responsibility
Even if you believe that you may have been at fault, it is best not to admit blame at the scene of a car accident. Immediately following an accident, you will be flustered, and you might admit fault when the responsibility lies with another party. If you think that you were to blame, then that’s only your opinion. So, stick to the facts, tell the police the truth, and avoid apportioning blame. It is advisable not to exchange small talk with the other driver either. A simple comment like, “I’m not hurt” or “no real damage done” might be used against you later.
6. Exchange Insurance Details
Following a motor accident, you should exchange contact and insurance details with the other driver or drivers. The information that should share includes your full name and contact information, and the name of your insurance company, and your policy number.
7. Document the Incident
Document as much as you can about the accident. Make a note of the make, models, license plate numbers, and colors of the other vehicles involved. Write down the location where the accident occurred. If the police attend the incident, note the names and the badge numbers of the officers attending the scene, and ask the attending police officers where you will be able to get a copy of the accident report.
8. Take Photos and Ask for Witnesses
Take photos of any damage to your car and the other car. If it is safe to do so, you should take pictures from several different angles of each of the vehicles involved in the accident. Your photos will be useful if your insurance company needs to fight a disputed claim on your behalf. If any third parties witnessed the accident, ask those people for their contact details as well.
9. Notify the Department of Motor Vehicles if Necessary
In some states, you may need to notify the local department of motor vehicles that there has been an accident. Whether you need to report an accident may depend on the value of the damage to the cars. In some states, it is also a legal requirement to report all car accidents to the police, however minor. Check what you need to do in your state to make sure that you meet all the legal requirements.
10. Notify Your Insurers
You may want to call your insurers while you are still at the scene of a motor accident. Your insurer can then tell you what they will need from you when you file your claim. Whether you call them immediately or later, your insurers will talk you through the claim process and explain what will be required from you.
In the immediate aftermath of a car accident, even the most experienced of drivers may feel flustered and disorientated. But, if you follow the above tips, you will have all the evidence you need to file your claim and protect yourself. The crucial thing, though, is always to put safety first immediately following a motor accident.
Being employed as a construction worker is one of the most dangerous jobs that a person can have. These dedicated workers risk serious injuries or even death on the job on a daily basis. Construction accidents not only affect injured workers. They impact the fabric of entire families too.
Some Common Types of Construction Accidents
Given the heights, equipment and materials at construction sites, a variety of severe accidents can occur. Here are some of the types of accidents that are often seen on construction sites:
• Falls: These are the most common types of accidents on construction sites. Improperly built work surfaces or walkways are often the causes of falls. Workers might also fall from roofs, scaffolding or ladders.
• Being Struck by an Object: The higher that objects fall from, the more dangerous they can be. Falling objects on construction sites are often misplaced tools or materials. Sometimes construction workers are even struck by vehicles or heavy machinery.
• Getting Caught in Between: Construction workers can get caught between a wall and machinery or a heavy piece of machinery and a vehicle.
• Electrocution: The risk of electrocution is always present on a construction site. Exposed wiring or wet connections are common hazards. Overhead power lines are of particular concern because of the voltage traveling through them.
• Power Tool Accidents: Careful use of power tools is critical to safety on any construction site. Aside from the risk of electrocution are the risks of a serious penetrating injury or even amputation.
• Collapses: Walls or trenches collapsing can cause blunt force trauma or even bury workers. They must be quickly rescued, especially in the event of a trench collapse.
Violation of Safety Regulations
Both state and federal agencies have put regulations in place to protect construction workers from unnecessary risks of harm. Sometimes, it’s the workers themselves who ignore safety regulations and get seriously injured because of a violation. At other times, it’s a foeman or a manager who circumvents the rules. Unfortunately, it’s usually the workers themselves who are injured under the circumstances. Here are some of those violations:
• Improperly erected scaffolding.
• Improper fall protection.
• Failure to use appropriate safety gear like a hardhat or eye protection.
• Failure to provide workers with adequate breathing protection.
Workers’ Compensation Benefits
The general rule across the country is that a worker who is injured in the course and scope of his or her employment by an anticipated and foreseeable consequence of that employment is eligible to receive workers’ compensation benefits. Those benefits are usually the injured employee’s sole and exclusive remedy. They ordinarily consist of the following:
• Payment of all reasonable medical bills in connection with the accident and injuries.
• Temporary total disability to be paid to the worker while he or she is recovering from the injuries and unable to work.
• Permanent partial disability for any permanent loss of a percentage of the person as a whole.
Personal Injury Lawsuits in Construction Accidents
An exception to the sole and exclusive remedy rule exists when an employee of one company was injured by a third-party entity on the same job site. Under those circumstances, the injured construction worker can file a personal injury lawsuit at the same time as workers’ compensation benefits are being received. That lawsuit would avail the construction worker to additional damages not contemplated by workers’ compensation laws. Usually, the personal injury case is significantly more valuable than the workers’ compensation claim. As the legal rules under such circumstances get complicated very quickly, it’s recommended that any injured worker seek the sound advice of a knowledgeable and experienced personal injury lawyer.
Construction workers must realize how dangerous it is every time that they set foot on a construction site. There’s always a risk of being seriously injured. Nearly all personal injury lawyers offer free initial consultations to construction accident victims. If you or a family member have been injured in a construction accident, take advantage of a free consultation and case review. The more information that you receive, the more you’ll realize how legally complicated your situation is.
In many parts of the United States, it’s either winter or road construction season. Road construction zones are hazardous. Motorists, their passengers and construction workers are injured or killed in accidents in those zones every year. Nearly all of those accidents are completely preventable, and the overwhelming majority of them are caused by carelessness and negligence.
It’s Suddenly an Unfamiliar Road
Road construction and maintenance are necessary nuisances that every driver encounters. Although temporary inconveniences, they often make getting to and from locations more convenient in the long term while decreasing risk and danger. Adding to the inconvenience of road construction and maintenance in progress is the complex maze of signs, lane changes, barrels, barriers, closed lanes, flaggers, other workers, trucks and heavy equipment. Even roads that you’ve driven for years become confusing and dangerous, especially if everybody is in a hurry and drivers don’t reduce their speeds. If you were seriously injured in a construction zone crash that was caused by somebody else who was careless and negligent, you’re going to be in need of a dedicated and experienced car accident attorney.
Common Causes of Construction Zone Accidents
Construction workers need not be present or engaged in any activities for an accident to be considered a construction zone accident. So long as the zone exists, and it is appropriately and sufficiently marked, a construction zone crash can occur at any time when a driver is traveling from the beginning of the zone to where it ends. Here are a few common causes of construction zone accidents:
• A hazardous zone route design that confuses drivers and requires them to make unsafe maneuvers.
• Poor maintenance of that route.
• The failure to place or the improper placement of appropriate signage, including detour signs.
• Placing of signs, barrels, barricades or cones too close to traffic traveling through the zone.
• Requiring the operation of trucks or heavy equipment too close to where traffic is traveling through the zone.
• Poor lighting conditions.
• Vehicles traveling through the construction zone at unsafe rates of speed that rear-end vehicles driving safely ahead of them.
• Drivers who are operating their vehicles too quickly for traffic or weather conditions.
• Drivers who are under the influence of alcohol, drugs or a combination of the two.
• Drivers who are distracted by phone calls, texting or using infotainment centers.
Determining Liability in Road Construction Accidents
More than one person might be held liable in a construction zone accident. What comes to issue is that a person claiming injury might be dealing with a federal, state or local government entity, one or more contractors and private individuals. In their attempts to avoid liability, expect everybody to be pointing their finger at everybody else while you’re caught in the middle. That’s why consulting and retaining a seasoned and successful car accident lawyer as soon as possible after your accident is of the utmost importance in protecting your rights. He or she will know how to get the immediate attention of all responsible parties.
Construction zone accident cases are extremely complicated. Don’t even try to take the first step yourself. You’re likely to harm rather than help any case that you might have. If you were injured in a construction zone accident, make a call or send an email to a qualified and respected car accident lawyer as soon as possible after your accident. Most car accident lawyers offer free consultations and case evaluations. Nearly all of them take accident cases on a contingency fee basis without requiring any up-front payments. Making that contact will be the best thing that you can do to protect and invoke your rights.