Can you use dashcam footage in an injury claim?

One of the key factors in a road traffic accident compensation claim is being able to demonstrate who was liable for an accident. Often a claimant may be reliant on witnesses to come forward - especially where a defendant is denying that he was to blame.

However the use of dashboard cameras (dash cams) is now helping an increasing number of motorists to provide crucial evidence of what or who caused an accident. According to RAC research there are now 2.9 million dash cam users - double the number of the previous year.

What is a dashboard camera (Dash-Cam)?

A dash cam is a small video camera that attaches to the front windscreen - usually where the rear-view mirror is - and records the road ahead and the date. More advanced dash cams incorporate a GPS system which can record location, direction of travel, speed, latitude and longitude.

The camera can be either connected to the car's electrical system through the 12V sockets or hardwired, and may be fixed by suction cups, brackets or sticky pads. Many can be removed and reattached as required.

It is designed for continuous recording - typically on a loop - when driving, and by doing so provides video evidence in case of an accident.

Although the camera only faces the direction of travel it is still useful in shunts from the side or behind as it clearly shows the way the claimant was driving at the time. They can also capture other vehicles' registration plates.

Dash cams can be set to record when a car is parked, thereby capturing footage of any ‘hit and run' collisions that may occur when a driver is away from his vehicle

Up to 4 hours of footage may be stored on a memory card, similar to that of a digital camera.

The benefits of dashboard cameras

Capturing the footage of exactly what happened in a collision may make it easier to establish who was at fault.

An increasing number of insurers are accepting footage when reviewing claims and dash cam footage can be used as evidence in court.

It is believed that dash cams have helped some motorists to improve their driving. This, coupled with the ability to settle claims more quickly by providing crucial evidence, is leading to some insurers offering discounted premiums to policy holders with dash cams installed.

The future

Being involved in a road traffic accident is traumatic enough without the lengthy disputes about the sequence of events that often follow.

An RAC survey found that 69% of those who had been involved in such a dispute over who was responsible believe that having a dash cam would have been useful.

Even the most cautious and careful drivers are unable to control events outside of their vehicles, so dash cam evidence may be increasingly invaluable in helping identify those whose careless driving may have led to a road traffic accident.

Howard Willis, Personal injury solicitor

Howard Willis, Personal injury solicitor