Despite the debate on the effectiveness of traffic cameras, Indiana is installing more every day. However, the state is not the only entity utilizing cameras, with many private businesses and residential cameras capturing car accident footage. Recovering that footage can be extremely challenging, and the time you will have to get it is limited.
Fortunately, a knowledgeable Indiana car accident attorney can help you navigate the complex process of obtaining camera footage. How long you will have to collect traffic camera footage will depend on who owns the camera the footage was captured on. The camera’s owner will also significantly impact the methods used to obtain the footage.
If you were injured in an accident, there’s a chance that a camera in the area recorded it. Our Indiana car accident attorneys can help you identify the owner of the footage and how to recover it. For a free case assessment, call Wruck Paupore at (219) 322-1166.
If you know that your accident was captured on camera, the first question you might ask is how long it will last before being erased. Digital camera footage takes up a great deal of storage space, so old footage is routinely erased to make room for new footage. How long your traffic camera footage will remain depends on who owns the camera.
The state and local governments across Indiana are increasingly utilizing traffic cameras. Governments install traffic cameras at intersections, interstate ramps, toll booths, office buildings, and anywhere else a government entity has a presence. For instance, many intersections have red-light cameras installed, or a construction site might have a speed camera set up nearby. How long camera footage is kept will depend on the government agency.
To determine how long camera footage is retained, the local or state agency’s particular rules will need to be researched. However, many local governments keep their traffic camera footage for 30 days.
While that does not give you much time to start the recovery process, some agencies might keep their camera footage longer. For example, police departments are local government agencies typically required to wear body cams and have dashcams installed in their cars. Because much of this footage captures evidence of a crime, it will likely be retained longer for the purposes of prosecution.
The most difficult part is requesting the footage from the correct agency. You will need to identify the owner of the camera. In some cases, the cameras are owned by local police departments. In other cases, the camera could be owned by a state agency like the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT). In rarer cases, the federal government might own the camera.
Many private businesses in Indiana utilize security cameras. Private security cameras are usually set up to view a wide area to see as much as possible. The result is that many car accidents are inadvertently captured on these security cameras. The footage from private security cameras can potentially capture a view of the accident that conclusively makes your case.
However, there is no way of knowing how long the footage will be kept without speaking to a business representative. Also, private business owners are under no obligation to provide you with camera footage. Our Indianapolis car accident attorneys can work with private business owners to help you recover the footage you need for your lawsuit.
Governments and businesses are not the only ones using cameras for personal security. Private citizens are also using cameras for security. Many residences today have a doorbell or porch cameras installed to deter package thieves and see who’s knocking before answering. The added benefit is that those car accidents can be captured on residential cameras, giving a perspective of the accident that no other cameras or witnesses might have seen.
Some drivers might have a dashcam installed. Driver dashcams can capture incredibly important footage of an accident. Smartphones might also capture footage of your accident. Nearly everyone has a smartphone today, and many will stop to video an accident that occurred in front of them. Like business owners, there is difficult to determine how long the footage will last. Private footage could be deleted relatively quickly, so contacting the party and making a request as soon as possible is critical. Private citizens are also not required to give over the collected footage, so working with our Indiana personal injury attorneys can make all the difference when trying to recover the footage.
There are several ways our Indiana car accident attorneys can help you obtain camera footage of your accident. A request for records can be made if the camera is owned by a federal, state, or local agency. If a state or local agency owns the camera footage, you can make a request under the Access to Public Records Act (APRA). If the federal government owns the footage, a request can be made under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).
If the camera footage is owned by a business or individual, our attorneys can contact them to confirm the footage exists. A spoliation letter can be sent directing the party to preserve and save the footage. The spoliation letter must state the date, locations, approximate time, and language demanding that the camera footage be saved in anticipation of litigation and should be sent by certified mail to confirm receipt of the letter. Our Hammond car accident attorneys can help you manages the challenges of recovering camera footage, regardless of who owns it.
If camera footage of your accident exists, our experienced South Bend car accident attorneys can help you obtain it for your case. Contact Wruck Paupore today at (219) 322-1166 for a free case review.
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Don is a founding partner and one of the nation’s top-ranked personal injury litigators. He is a member of the Multi-million Dollar Advocates Forum, which includes less than 1% of the nation’s trial lawyers, and awarded the highest ranking given by Martindale Hubbel and AVVO.
More importantly, Don understands representing personal injury victims is about more than recovering the best settlement: it’s about helping clients get back on their feet and supporting them in every aspect of their recovery.
In nearly all cases, our clients seek compensation from the wrongdoer’s insurance company. Before forming Wruck Paupore, Jason worked for a prominent law firm representing some of the world’s largest insurers. This experience gives Jason a deep understanding of the insurance industry and the strategies it uses to pay injury victims as little as possible.
Jason -- and our entire team -- put this inside knowledge to work to force insurance companies to pay what is actually owed. Often, we use the insurance company’s own tactics against them as we fight for the full compensation our client deserves.
For more than four decades, Keith has been fighting for injury victims. During that time, he’s watched the insurance industry change, with insurers now more interested in protecting their stock price than treating injury victims fairly.
Since the beginning, Keith has put people first. From his childhood in Gary, Indiana during the 1960’s and working his way through law school, Keith has risen to become one of the Midwest’s most respected trial lawyers. He has never forgotten that being a lawyer is about helping people -- and seeing injury victims through struggles in a way that could change their lives forever.
Over the decades, Keith, Don and Jason have fought relentlessly for clients, even when other lawyers have said the case was impossible to win.