The Role of Surveillance Footage in Personal Injury Cases

by Staff Blogger | November 27th, 2023

If you’ve recently suffered a personal injury in a car collision, slip and fall, or a workplace accident due to another’s negligence, you might wonder about the evidence needed to support your claim. In addition to medical records and police reports, surveillance footage can support your case.

With traffic and surveillance cameras on many streets and properties in California, this footage can corroborate testimonies, determine liability, and provide objective proof in court.

If you plan to file a claim after a personal injury accident, our California personal injury lawyers can help you obtain and use these recordings to ensure you receive maximum compensation.

Benefits of Surveillance Footage in Personal Injury Claims

Surveillance footage offers an impartial, unfiltered view of accidents, helping your attorney investigate your claim and prove negligence.

  • Authenticity. Surveillance footage captures events as they unfold, with timestamps and metadata proving when and where the incident occurred. Camera footage is an objective and unedited account of events that can stand up in court.
  • Corroboration of testimony. When memories fade or witnesses have conflicting accounts, video evidence can set the record straight, supporting or contradicting verbal testimonies.
  • Determination of fault. By visually presenting a sequence of events, surveillance footage makes it easier for attorneys and insurance companies to determine who’s at fault and accurately assign liability.
  • Preservation of real-time reactions. A video can vividly illustrate the immediate pain, shock, or distress of personal injury victims, making it harder to dispute the victim’s damages and suffering.
  • Facilitation of settlements. Solid visual evidence can make a quick settlement more likely. This reduces the chances of a prolonged legal battle and helps victims receive fair compensation.

For example, surveillance video can help prove the severity of a car accident and can be vital evidence in facilitating settlement through the at-fault driver’s insurance or a damage award in a personal injury lawsuit.

Types of Personal Injury Cases Where Surveillance Footage is Critical

Surveillance video helps back up a personal injury claim, especially when stories about what happened don’t align. Here are some everyday personal injury situations where this kind of footage can help:

  • Slip and fall accidents. In places like shopping malls or public areas, cameras can show the presence (or absence) of hazard warnings, wet floors, or clutter. This footage can prove negligence and reveal the impact and severity of the fall on the victim.
  • Car accidents. Traffic and dashcam recordings can illustrate the events leading up to a collision, pinpointing reckless behaviors or determining right-of-way violations. The immediate aftermath captured can give insights into the gravity of injuries, helping validate medical claims and treatments.
  • Workplace injuries. In work environments, surveillance video can capture unsafe practices, equipment malfunctions, or the failure to use safety gear. It can show the nature of the injury and the victim’s immediate response, showing the severity of the damage. 
  • Pedestrian or bicycle accidents. Surveillance footage can show fault when a pedestrian or bicyclist is struck by a vehicle at crosswalks, intersections, or roads. Video may clarify if the pedestrian had the right of way, if the driver was distracted, or if the bicyclist followed traffic rules, establishing liability and the depth of damage caused.
  • Negligent security claims. In places like bars, hotels, or parking lots, surveillance footage can demonstrate inadequate security measures, like poor lighting, broken gates, or the absence of security personnel. If a victim is harmed, video can prove the property owner’s negligence, helping the victim receive compensation in a premises liability claim. 

Privacy Concerns and Legal Considerations

While surveillance footage can be powerful evidence in personal injury cases, there are legal hurdles to navigate. Here are some factors that could complicate the process of getting or using this footage in court:

  • Privacy issues. Even if there’s footage, it doesn’t automatically grant permission to use it; privacy rights vary based on whether the event took place in a public or private setting. Given the specifics of the incident, your lawyer might need to work through these legal intricacies to get the video.
  • Admissibility. Just because a video records the incident doesn’t mean it’s automatically valid in court. For it to be admissible, it must be authentic and relevant.

To prove authenticity, maintain a clear chain of command for custody of the footage, including where it originated, who has access to the video, who has viewed it, and a record of any copies made.

  • Accessibility. Accessing and preserving footage can be challenging. Many cameras come with limited storage, and private and public entities frequently erase content after a set period.

Working with an experienced attorney immediately after your accident can enable them to secure surveillance footage for your case quickly. This might involve issuing a preservation letter to the party or entity in possession of the footage.

Get Skilled Legal Representation with Berg Injury Lawyers

Surveillance footage can strengthen your case, but managing this evidence correctly is essential. At Berg Injury Lawyers, we know how to obtain and use this footage to strengthen your case.

We will thoroughly investigate your personal injury incident to find all relevant evidence. This can include traffic, surveillance, or dash camera footage to help determine fault and help you win your claim.

Contact us today for a free consultation and to learn about our no fee guarantee — a simple promise that if you don’t win, you pay nothing.