Obtaining Surveillance Footage After A Car Accident
Video recordings, whether from traffic cameras or nearby security cameras, can prove crucial in demonstrating fault after an accident. Locating and obtaining those videos can, however, prove challenging, so if you were involved in a car crash, you should consider reaching out to an experienced Tulsa auto accident lawyer for help obtaining the evidence to support your claim.
Potential Sources of Camera Footage
While Oklahoma doesn’t use red light cameras, cities across the state do utilize traffic monitoring cameras and the footage from these cameras can be used to help demonstrate the cause of a car crash. They are by no means, however, the only source of video footage that car accident victims can utilize. Many office buildings, for instance, have their own security cameras installed, as do banks, some retail stores, and even private homes. Even video taken on someone’s cell phone can be used as evidence if it is authenticated.
Who Controls the Footage?
One of the first steps that someone needs to take when security footage of an accident has been located is to determine who controls that recording. This isn’t always difficult. Security video from a bank, for example, likely belongs to the bank, while recordings from a dashboard camera in a police vehicle belong to the government. In other cases, however, it could be more complicated to identify the person or entity who controls the video in question. A business may, for instance, contract with an outside security provider, who has access to the footage. In either case, once the owner of the footage has been identified, the injured party will need to reach out to that person or entity immediately.
Sending a Preservation Request
All government entities and security contractors have their own video retention policies. Some, for instance, may only keep their videos for a week, while most don’t retain them for more than 30 days. To ensure that the recordings aren’t lost, accident victims will need to ask the company that controls the camera to preserve it. Failing to take this step could result in the video being deleted by the company in accordance with its normal business practices. By sending out a preservation request soon after the accident, an injured party can help keep this from happening.
Issuing a Subpoena
Often, the person or entity in control of the footage will cooperate with the request from the victim’s attorney and will voluntarily provide the recording. If they are not cooperative, however, it may be necessary to request a subpoena, which is a directive from a court that orders the recipient to turn over the requested evidence. The recipient must then hand over the footage, or provide a valid reason why they cannot release the video.
Legal Advice When in Need
Video footage can help prove not only the cause, but also the severity of a car crash. It can even help a person test the accuracy of witness testimony. Obtaining video recordings after an accident can, however, be difficult. To learn more about this process, don’t hesitate to contact the dedicated Tulsa auto accident lawyers at Levinson Law, P.C. by calling 918-492-4433 today.