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Using Dashcams After Accidents

Understanding Dashcams and How They Help After Accidents

There were over 128,000 reported traffic crashes in Pennsylvania in 2018. Not all accidents present clear, obvious evidence that proves who was at fault; a hit-and-run with no surveillance cameras means you'll have to hope the culprit is still in the area, and some accidents, such as rear-endings, may seem stacked against you. Here are some details on how dash cameras work, the technical details that matter and how to use them to your advantage with a lawyer's help.

What Are Dashcams?

Dashboard cameras, or dashcams, are cameras that can record video and/or audio in, on or near your car. Most cameras are mounted on the dashboard in places that don’t obstruct the driver’s view, on the ceiling, at the rear of the vehicle or at multiple points to provide a better view around the vehicle. Safety is important, but there are customization options. Although the technology changes over the years, modern dashcams use the same technology as smartphones and webcams. This means you can enjoy standards such as 720p, 1080p or even 4k. The cameras work by recording video to a storage device. It could be built-in storage, like a computer's drive; an SD card that you might find in a phone or camera; or even USB drives, like thumb drives. Batteries are often used to keep the system powered, but vehicle power can be used as well. A combination of both may be needed depending on how you want to record. There are state laws regarding where you can mount your dashcam as well as regulations about how you use the video. Having an obstructed view is the biggest factor, so try to avoid placing the camera on the windshield, and follow local vehicle safety laws. This explanation doesn't cover uploading video for public use or using videos for purposes other than legal protection, so ask an Allentown car accident lawyer about local restrictions.

How to Keep Dashcams Useful

A dashcam is useful only when recording, and many people make the mistake of keeping an old, unpowered camera in their car. Be sure to read the instructions for your dashcam to familiarize yourself with its features, especially when it comes to power and storage. Dashcams that rely on vehicle power will only work when the car is turned on, and you may want extra storage for archiving purposes. Having a rechargeable battery for your dashcam can protect you against incidents that happen after your vehicle loses power. If the battery keeps power to the camera, it can record tampering and secondary impacts that could give more details about the accident. A dashcam is only useful if you still have access to the recordings. Never tamper with data, but make sure you know what to do with the recordings after an accident. First, make sure that you and others around you are safe. Next, contact your lawyer and ask about what to do with your video evidence. Explain the type of storage you have just to make sure a lawyer can receive the evidence if necessary. If your attorney tells you to surrender the evidence to police, follow their instructions. If you want to make sure that your evidence isn't lost, talk with your lawyer about making copies. Making copies can be a tricky situation since, technically, you could tamper with the evidence if you take it to a computer. A lawyer can give you the best answer, but to be as safe as possible, never edit video for any reason. You don't need to cut out parts to get to the point of a video, and you don't need to add highlights or commentary. As far as you're concerned, you're giving over the entire video and following legal advice. A dashcam can deliver a lot of great information, and with a lawyer's help, you can make your case stronger with video footage that's hard to argue against. Of course, catching yourself doing something odd on camera could harm you, so ask a lawyer first. For more details on dashcams, safeguarding evidence and building a better case, contact an Allentown car accident lawyer at Metzger & Kleiner. If you’re close to the Lehigh Valley, call (610) 435-7400. If you’re in Philadelphia, call (215) 567-6616. You can also contact us online.

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