‘Are there any witnesses to the accident?’ This is one of the important questions that we ask when we are giving advice regarding a road accident. If there is no witness, can dash cam footage help to prove a road accident claim?
Accident circumstances are often straight forward and one or other of the drivers accepts that they are at fault. In such cases, the lack of a witness is not an issue. In cases where liability is disputed, additional evidence may be required.
What if liability is disputed after a road accident?
Difficulties can arise in cases where one or more drivers disputes that they are at fault. In some cases, particularly where each driver blames the other, it can be hard to establish exactly which driver was at fault. If there is no witness, it may simply be a case of one driver’s word against the other.
In the absence of evidence to prove which driver was at fault, the insurers of the vehicles involved will often suggest that each driver share a part of the blame, often on a 50 -50 basis.
No independent witness, no justice?
The lack of an independent witness can lead to unjust results. Imagine being an innocent driver and hearing that your insurers want you to accept part of the blame, simply because there is no evidence to back up your version of events. Frustrating at best and unjust at worst!
Unfortunately, evidence is always important in disputed cases. Road accident claims are often decided not on the basis of ‘what’ actually happened, but rather upon what a driver can ‘prove’ happened. These are two very different things.
The rise of the dash cam in fighting fraudulent road accident claims
The use of in-car dashboard cameras, or dash cams, is growing. Why? Many of the companies offering dash cam systems promote their use as protection against fraudsters staging ‘crash-for-cash’ accidents. The use of dash cam footage in combating fraudsters has been well documented with many ‘crash for cash’ fraudsters receiving prison sentences.
Fighting fraud is not the only use
There are many uses for in-car video and camera systems. One survey into the use of dash cams found that drivers were using dashcam footage for a number of reasons, including:
- recording themselves to provide evidence that they were not using a mobile phone while driving
- security of drivers and passengers, particularly when used by transport and taxi companies
- recording footage of (legal) high speed driving at special track day events
The survey also learned that drivers had identified that a dash cam could provide evidence that they were not at fault if they were involved in a road accident.
Could dash cam footage prove your genuine accident claim?
Fortunately, the majority of accidents involve honest drivers in genuine accidents. The lack of a witness can, however, still cause problems for genuine drivers trying to prove their claim.
If an accident is genuine, there can still be a dispute between the drivers as to who is at fault. In such cases, an independent witness is invaluable to establish how the accident occurred. Even so, witnesses can sometimes be mistaken or unclear about exactly what happened.
Dash cam: the independent witness in a road accident claim?
We’ve all heard the saying ‘the camera doesn’t lie ….’ In this digital age that is, perhaps, no longer strictly true, but dash cam footage can often assist.
Video footage which captures a road accident, either from the one of the vehicles involved or from a witness vehicle, could very well be the evidence that helps solicitors, insurers and the police to establish liability in road accident claims.
Some insurers, recognising the advantages, are even offering reductions in premiums to drivers using certain types of in-car video equipment.
New online portal for dash cam footage
The increase in dash cam use has led to a number of police forces creating online portals to allow members of the public to upload video footage which captures dangerous driving or accidents. This has been taken further by one leading dash cam manufacturer which has, this week, announced the launch of the Nextbase National Dash Cam Safety Portal. This portal will allow owners of any make of dash cam to upload footage for police forces to assess.
What to do if you record a road accident?
If you are involved in a road accident you should always check and retain any footage captured by dash cams or other in-car cameras. Your insurance company and solicitors will need to see this.
If you happen to record an accident involving other vehicles you should offer your details to the other drivers at the scene and consider uploading the footage to a police portal after the event.
What do you want to do next?
If you have been involved in a road accident and would like free no obligation advice, please contact us by calling freephone 0800 731 5434 or contact us online
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