Being in an auto accident is stressful at best, and can be life-changing due to the terrible injuries that are possible. Dealing with insurance companies is difficult, because they are worried about protecting themselves and their bottom line. When you or a loved one has been injured and your property has been damaged, you find yourself dealing with day-to-day problems. It can be difficult to focus on a civil case when you are still trying to get necessary medical attention.
If you were injured because of someone else’s negligence, you deserve to have your expenses paid by that person. In order to receive the money you deserve, you need to be able to prove your case if you are the victim of a car accident. Calling an attorney is a good way to protect your own interests. Because attorneys take personal injury cases on a contingency fee basis, you don’t need to worry about paying the attorney until the case is over. If you don’t collect, your attorney won’t either.
Getting Evidence For Your Traffic Accident
Arizona is a comparative fault state, meaning that different individuals involved in an accident can be assigned liability for their share of the blame. That means that your case needs to be strong to prove the other party was totally at fault. Otherwise, they can assign you part of the blame and reduce your ability to be fairly compensated.
There are all kinds of evidence you can use, like the accident report, witness statements and physical evidence from the scene.
A video would be a very strong kind of evidence to be able to present. It helps a judge or jury if they can see what happened for themselves. The trick is finding out whether such a video exists, and then making sure you can legally present it in a trial.
While they are not present in every locality, Arizona does allow cities to operate cameras to enforce traffic laws. Many people believe the purpose of the cameras is to provide revenue, not to ensure driver safety. Because of that, there are people fighting to make those kinds of cameras illegal in Arizona.
There are other traffic cameras set up in other locations where law enforcement can monitor traffic. Most law enforcement cameras will be focused on places where the most accidents occur, or where the traffic is heaviest.
Many traffic accidents occur in intersections, so there is a possibility that your accident was caught on tape. If it was, it may be difficult to retrieve the video from the law enforcement which possesses it. The camera may belong to a local agency or the Arizona Department of Transportation. Your attorney can find out and issue a subpoena demanding the evidence for your civil case.
Other Kinds Of Police Cameras
Sometimes law enforcement has captured an accident with other means, such as with a dashboard cam. If you saw an officer who may have filmed your misfortune, there may be a way to get that video for your civil trial.
The cameras used for officers while on patrol vary in many aspects. Some only turn on when the officer initiates lights and siren, while others capture far more. If you think an officer may be a source of evidence for you, let your attorney know right away. It is vital to capture the information before it is erased.
Many businesses have cameras which capture activity directly outside their property. This information helps them with security, and they may not make it obvious that cameras are present. They may not want people to know they are being recorded.
Another problem you may run into with getting camera footage from businesses is that they often erase the tapes relatively quickly, sometimes even as quickly as within 24 hours. They don’t have the need for information, and storage can be costly. Your attorney can act quickly to find which businesses might have video so he can contact them immediately.
How a Lawyer Can Help You
Lawyers have been trained to find, evaluate and present evidence. During the initial consultation, your personal injury attorney will talk to you about the details of what happened. In order to bring the evidence to court, you will need to take several steps:
- You will need to find the cameras, whether they were in a police car or in a business.
- Once you have located them, you will need to learn who is in charge of maintaining them.
- You will then need to obtain the footage in a legal way, so that the other parties can’t claim it’s been altered.
Getting a copy of the video for your case on your own will probably be difficult to impossible. Your time is limited, so you can’t wait if you are going to obtain a copy for your case. Most of the people who have video that may be able to help you have no obligation to share it with you.
Luckily, your attorney can do all the work for you. If you have been injured in an auto accident, call an attorney as soon as possible. You will be under no legal obligation, and you can receive free advice. If you do decide to hire an attorney, your attorney will be on your side every step of the way. You don’t even have to pay until your case is over.