Dashboard cameras or “dash cams” are in-car cameras that continuously record the view through a vehicle’s front window. Depending on the make and model, some dash cams also record the view through the vehicle’s rear or other windows. It may come as no surprise that when an accident happens (and there are approximately 6 million in the U.S. every year) that the people involved often have different accounts of what occurred. This is where having a dash cam comes in particularly handy: they act as independent witnesses to verify what did – and didn’t – really happen during a vehicular crash.
So long as dash cams do not restrict a driver’s view and are not used to invade someone’s privacy, they are completely legal to install inside a vehicle. Dash cams automatically begin recording when a driver starts the car’s engine, but some newer models also offer features like “parking mode”. Parking mode enables the dash cam to become active after a certain period of inactivity or when the ignition is off. Parking mode can be particularly helpful if your vehicle is involved in a hit-and-run incident, like if a driver hits your parked car and then flees the scene. Most dash cams record somewhere from two to six hours of video before they start to record over older footage, but this depends on how much storage space a model has. You can also manually save footage that you want to keep. Some dash cams have features that automatically save a section of video if it detects a collision.
Whereas people are notorious for misremembering dates, times, and specific details surrounding a traumatic event like a car crash, a dash cam gives an unbiased and reliable account of exactly what happened. No one likes being at-fault in an accident, but in some cases the responsible party may falsify information to avoid legal culpability and blame. An at-fault party may lie about being under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs, speeding, being on their cell phone, or driving aggressively. A dash cam can record these actions and behaviors and is effective at disproving false claims. If you sustained injuries in an accident that was not your fault, providing dash cam footage to your insurance company can also help expedite the process of your claim.
According to a dash cam reviewer for Wirecutter, a popular product review website owned by the New York Times Company, here are a few of the most important features to look for when shopping for an in-vehicle dash cam:
Once you pick the best dash cam to fit your budget and vehicle, it is time to install it. Most dash cams are fairly easy to install. You should install the dash cam close to your rearview mirror so as not to obstruct forward visibility.
If you’re involved in a car accident, call the police right away. Next, be sure to collect as much information at the scene as possible. This includes taking down the names, telephone numbers, vehicle registrations, license information, license plate numbers and insurance policy information of the involved parties as well as witnesses. Take pictures of damage to all vehicles and notify your insurance company that an accident has taken place. Seek any necessary medical attention and inform your doctor that you were involved in an auto accident even if you do not feel injured at the time.
Do not give a statement to anyone other than the police until you have spoken to an experienced automobile accident attorney. An attorney will review your information and can also examine your dash cam footage. At Galfand Berger, our attorneys have successfully handled thousands of automobile accident cases and will answer your questions, guide you through your case, and maximize the best results possible. If you would like to learn more, contact a representative online now.
With offices located in Philadelphia, Bethlehem, Reading and Lancaster, Galfand Berger LLP serves clients throughout Pennsylvania and New Jersey. To schedule a consultation, call us at 800-222-8792 or complete our online contact form.