There is no better way to tell your side of the story than to have clear video evidence of the incident happening. Whether it is a cell phone video, footage from a police dashcam, a security camera, or something else entirely, it can make a world of difference to show footage of the incident as it happened.
However, obtaining this video evidence is not always easy, and it often requires the help of an experienced personal injury attorney. If you have been injured and believe you have grounds for a personal injury claim, contact a personal injury lawyer right away; he or she will be able to investigate whether or not there is video evidence and how you should go about finding it.
The first step to obtaining video evidence is figuring out who owns the video. Sources of video evidence for a personal injury claim may include:
- Cell phone videos: If the incident happened in a public place, there is always a chance someone took a video of it on their cell phone. However, tracking down these videos is not always easy. The person who took the video may have given it to police for evidence, or they may still have it on their phone.
- Security camera footage: Many businesses have security cameras in place to record customers and employees, which can be extremely useful for your case. Home security cameras and “nanny cams” can also be useful if the device was on and working at the time of the accident.
- Police dashboard cameras: “Dashcams” can come in handy if the police were present at the time of the incident or shortly after.
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The next step will depend on the type of video and who possesses it. Obtaining the video, especially if it belongs to a private party who recorded it on his or her phone, could be as simple as asking the person for it. Similarly, if the incident happened in view of a security camera, go speak to a manager or security personnel to see if you can take a look at the security footage from the day in question; many business owners or security officers will gladly let you take a look.
If the owner of the video does not want to release it, you may need to use a subpoena. A subpoena is a formal request for someone to attend a court hearing or produce certain legal documents, such as video evidence. Refusing to comply with a subpoena could land the person in jail or require them to pay hefty fines.
If the video you’re looking for is in police custody (such as a dashcam video), you may have to jump through additional hoops to take a look. For many precincts, you must fill out a formal request for dashcam footage, pay processing fees, and wait several days or weeks for your request to be fulfilled.
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No matter what type of video you are looking for, it is best to consult a personal injury attorney with experience in video evidence. A lawyer will be able to determine the best route for obtaining your video and using it to your advantage during the injury claim process.