New York is an at-fault state for car accidents. Drivers must purchase a minimum amount of liability car insurance coverage. Car accident victims must provide evidence that proves the other driver caused the collision before they can recover money for an insurance or personal injury claim.

Evidence in a car accident case may include video of the actual collision. When fault for the crash is disputed, video of the accident can be the critical piece of evidence that decides the case in your favor. 

The good news is that there are cameras everywhere in New York. The bad news is that you might need to perform an exhaustive search for video footage, and the owner may not always be willing to turn over the video.

What Types of Cameras Might Capture Your Car Accident?

Traffic cameras and red light cameras may capture the car crash. However, there could be a problem with the video, or the video may not capture the collision from the correct angle. In some cases, the video from the traffic camera may not capture the seconds before the car accident that prove the other driver was at fault for the collision.

However, there could be other cameras in the area that recorded your car accident, such as:

  • Private cameras being used by tourists or residents to tape a variety of things, including your crash
  • Private traffic cameras installed by new organizations and news stations to observe traffic conditions, weather, and road conditions
  • Cameras installed on vehicles, such as city buses and government vehicles
  • Security cameras installed at hotels, restaurants, retail stores, gas stations, convenience stores, entertainment venues, etc.

Most people assume that traffic cameras capture everything that occurs on New York streets. However, that is not always the case. Speed cameras, traffic cameras, and red light cameras are limited in what they video. They are also limited in the angles they show.

Therefore, your best evidence proving you were not responsible for causing your car accident might be a video from a nearby surveillance camera. Finding these cameras and obtaining the video can be time-consuming and tricky.

You must act quickly if you want to obtain a surveillance video of a car accident. Some businesses and private individuals may archive the videos. Others may record over old footage or delete videos. 

One of the biggest challenges of obtaining surveillance video is time. You need to search the surrounding area for surveillance cameras. The task might require knocking on many doors and talking to hundreds of individuals and businesses.

Suppose you locate a business or an individual with a surveillance camera that would have captured the crash. In that case, the next hurdle to jump is convincing the person or business to give you a copy of the video.

Private individuals and companies are not under a legal obligation to give you the video footage of your car crash. Your car accident lawyer might be able to convince them to provide a copy of the video footage, but there is no guarantee.

You might increase the odds of obtaining surveillance video by informing the police officers investigating the crash that you have identified one or more businesses with surveillance cameras. The businesses may be more willing to cooperate with a police officer.

If the party refuses to give you a copy of the video, your only choice might be to file a lawsuit. By filing a lawsuit, you can request that the court order the party to turn over evidence. However, because it could take months to obtain a court order, it may be best to negotiate an agreement with the party that has the video.

An experienced lawyer will understand the various negotiating strategies and techniques that could help retrieve the surveillance tape of your car crash. 

How Can Video Footage from a Surveillance Camera Help in a Car Accident Case?

If the other driver’s story does not match your version of events leading up to the car crash, having a video of the accident can help resolve the dispute. The video may show the other driver was speeding, ran a stop sign, or was texting at the time of the crash. Video evidence does not lie. It does not “bend” the truth to avoid liability.

Having a video of your car accident could increase the chance that the insurance company will settle the claim for the total value of your damages. It can also reduce the time it takes to settle a car accident claim and avoid going to court.