They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but a video tells the whole story. People everywhere are choosing to install dash cameras in their vehicles for a variety of reasons. No matter how cautious you may be while driving, even careful drivers cannot control the events that happen outside of their vehicles. Many drivers have experienced dealing with erratic drivers and were previously helpless, but now drivers can do something to protect themselves and help identify dangerous drivers. Dashcams provide you extra protection and security while you are on the road by recording footage of what occurred on the road and can provide details such as how fast you were going, the location, and how the impact incurred. If you have ever been involved in a car wreck where there was a question about who was at fault, or if your car has ever been damaged by a hit-and-run, then the idea of a dashcam might be appealing. However, it is important for everyone to proactively seek the protection that they offer.
What is a dashcam?
A dashcam, otherwise known as a dashboard-mounted camera, is a device that allows you to record everything that happens as you drive. They can be attached to the interior and exterior of your car and cost anywhere from $60 to $150. The cameras consist of a that can be mounted to your window or dashboard via suction cup, brackets, or a sticky pad. These cameras are special because they cover a wide field of view. Rather than just recording what is directly in front of you, they have the ability to record 120 degrees around the car. Dashcams start recording as soon as you start your engine and record on a continuous loop. They are designed to continuously record as you drive and provide evidence in the case of an auto accident.
Dashcams have a wide range of features. Some cameras have the ability to record sound, some can record with night vision, and some have built-in GPS with speedometers, so you know where the incident was recorded and how fast you were going. Other models with dual lenses are equipped with interior and rear-facing video which could be beneficial in the event that you are rear-ended.
How can a dashcam help me?
Many drivers such as bus drivers, taxi drivers, truck drivers, and police officers have dash cams already installed in their vehicles. However, dash cams are not just for commercial use anymore. Other motorists are finding dash cams to be extremely beneficial as a tool for recording important evidence for auto accident insurance claims. In fact, according to a new RAC study, nearly 3 million motorists are recording their journeys with these devices. Around 25% of drivers think a dashcam will improve their own driving, while 69% of those who have been involved in an accident, think having a dash camera would have been useful. Dashcams provide invaluable footage that ensures your insurance premium does not rise due to a lack of evidence.
If you are looking for the perfect dash cam for you, consider what is important. If you live in a high crime area, installing a dash camera could be beneficial to capture footage of criminals damaging or breaking into your vehicle. Other drivers that travel a lot, may want to install a dashcam that has a GPS system, as they are capable of recording location, speed, direction of travel, latitude and longitude.
In 2015, TruckingInfo.com reported a 34% decrease in truck accidents within the first year that two companies installed dash cameras in their trucks and a 50% decrease in severe truck accidents. In these instances, dashcam footage made these truck drivers more aware and careful when driving.
Gathering witnesses after an accident can be difficult. Even if you are able to find a witness, the person may not remember the exact details of the accident or may have a different version of the events based on their interpretation. However, if you have video proof of the accident that demonstrates you were not at fault, your insurance company will be able to determine liability in an expedited manner. Dashcams offer real-time, non-biased evidence with details of how the accident took place. Dashcams can prevent unnecessary legal action because it shows exactly what happened without having to investigate a “he said, she said” car accident case.
Auto Insurance fraud affects all drivers, whether or not you have been in an accident. According to the FBI, insurance fraud costs the average U.S. family between $400 and $700 per year in the form of increased insurance premiums.
At-fault drivers often try to shift the blame from themselves hoping to avoid a police citation or an increase in their insurance rates. Some drivers conspire to cause collisions and make it look like the other party’s fault. Other schemes involve two vehicles and is referred to as the “swoop and squat”, this happens when one of the vehicles slow down directly in front of you and the other car comes up from behind and swerves in front of the “squat” car. The squat car will then brake quickly, forcing you to rear-end them as the swoop car drives off. Footage from a dash cam can provide objective and impartial evidence that will back up your statement to police officers and insurance companies that will protect you from being erroneously found at fault.
In the case that the footage clearly shows the other party at fault and you are able to prove negligence, an experienced auto accident attorney can use this to acquire maximum compensation for your damages via settlement.
After an accident, it is normal for a driver to be shaken up. Dashcams can be used to fill in the details when drivers have a repressed memory of the event. They can also be used to refute potential errors found in police reports. Even if you are doing everything correct before the accident occurred, insurance companies attempt to diminish the severity of accidents and injuries sustained, especially if they claim it was a low-impact or low-speed accident. Minimizing the claim is harder for insurance companies to do when dashcams capture the entire accident.
In an auto accident injury claim case, the footage can be used as convincing evidence that the severity of the injury cannot be determined by the amount of damage done to the cars. A lot of times, the force of the impact is transferred to the person, not the motor vehicle.
Not only are dash cams beneficial in accidents, but they are also useful for traffic citations. Dashcams that monitor your speed and location can prove beneficial when a police officer is mistaken. Police misjudgment is typically difficult to prove in court since the court often tends to rule in favor of the police, but with the use of this footage, civilians are now able to prove their innocence.
Unfortunately, unattended vehicles are left helpless in instances such as hit-and-runs, break-ins, car theft, and vandalism. However, dash cams now have the capability of recording activity surrounding your vehicle when they are in standby mode. Dash cameras not only help for accidents, but they also act as surveillance footage. The cameras begin recording when the motion detector senses movement outside the vehicle and even works when the vehicle is not running. Users can see a direct view of their car from their cell phones at all times. Dashcams act as a deterrent for thieves and as evidence in prosecuting them.
A collision claim to fix damages to your car after an accident not only goes on your record but costs you your deductible. According to research gathered by Insurance.com, a single at-fault claim for less than $1,000 can raise rates of about 18% on average.
What to look for in a Dash Cam
Investing in a dashcam could save you thousands of dollars and help to avoid time-consuming he-said-she-said instances. When looking for a dash cam you should look for several features:
- Video Quality
- Night Vision
- Field of View
- Automatic and Manual Recording
- Loop Recording
- Motion Detection
- Driver Awareness Warnings
- Impact Detection
Retain an experienced attorney
Two key components in a personal injury lawsuit are:
1) Proof of Negligence
2) Proof of Loss
This means that a successful claim for damages must show the at-fault party’s negligence caused the accident and the plaintiff’s injuries and that the plaintiff experienced real loss as a result of the accident, which could be financial and non-economical.
If you are involved in an accident, it is always a good idea after the vehicle is secured and safe, to take pictures of the scene and vehicles. Certain accident details may be outside of the dash cams view and as always it is important to identify and talk to those who witnessed the accident. As with all technology, dash cams provide many useful features but are subject to error.
If you have been injured in an accident, your best bet is to retain a personal injury attorney to put together all the evidence. Having an attorney with experience successfully representing injured people will maximize your effort. Contact one of our experienced attorneys at Thompson Law. We offer clients a free case evaluation and will help you get the proper medical treatment and compensation for your suffering. Call us 24/7 at 844-308-8180.
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