If you’re not careful, you can lose a few hours watching dash cam videos on YouTube. These videos provide a first-person view of traffic incidents that’s almost as thrilling as any Hollywood high-speed chase. But these videos can do more than go viral. They can be used as dash cam evidence in court.
With the global dash cam market growing every year and expected to top $5.94 billion by 2025, people who have been injured in car accidents are starting to wonder: Is dash cam footage admissible in court? In Washington state, it certainly can be. And it can make the difference between a loss and full compensation in many cases.
In this post, we examine the use of dash cam evidence in personal injury cases and what you need to know about dash cam footage in your case. Read on to learn more, or contact the trusted injury lawyers at Will & Will.
Is It Legal to Use a Dash Cam in Washington State?
The first question you should ask isn’t “Is dash cam footage admissible in court?” Before that, you need to know whether you used the dash cam legally. Washington state has some specific rules about how dash cams can be used.
In most cases, it’s perfectly legal to mount a camera on your dashboard. However, it can’t obstruct your view of the road in any way. That’s the law laid out in Revised Code of Washington, Section 46.37.410. That means you can’t attach it to your windshield but can mount it in a non-obstructive place on your dashboard or the back of your rearview mirror.
Can Dash Cam Footage Be Used in Court?
Using dash cam evidence in court can give you a powerful advantage when you are suing for personal injury. If the camera captured your accident and confirms your side of the story, you have some really strong evidence on your hands.
Unfortunately, dash cam evidence can’t always be used in court. Only in very rare instances will a court deem dash cam footage inadmissible, but if you violated someone’s right to privacy when recording the footage, you may find yourself in such a situation.
Did your dash cam record any audio inside your car? If so, were the passengers in the car aware that they were being recorded? According to Revised Code of Washington, Section 9.73.030, you have to have the consent of everyone in your car before you can legally record them.
While some states only require the consent of one of the parties, in Washington state, you have to get everyone’s consent. Otherwise, you are breaking the law, and the evidence may not be usable in court.
Whether you can use dash cam evidence in court or not, you need to know that dash cam footage is only one part of a strong personal injury case. An experienced personal injury lawyer can put your dash cam footage to good use and gather other evidence to give you the best shot at recovering maximum compensation.
Dash Cam Proper Placement
To ensure that you are able to use dash cam evidence in court, you have to install the camera in the proper place in your car. Here are the best practices for dash cam placement:
- Place the camera so that it will not obstruct any part of your view of the road. Placing it behind the rearview mirror is often a good bet because this portion of the windshield is already blocked.
- Do not place the dash cam on your windshield. This is illegal in Washington state.
- Test the camera to make sure it is working properly.
- Review your first dash cam footage to make sure it captures a good view of the road. An obscured or awkward view can reduce the reliability of dash cam evidence.
Elements of Good Dash Cam Footage
With a properly placed dash cam, you can be relatively certain that you can use the footage in your personal injury case. But what kinds of footage make for strong evidence? Here are a few factors that can strengthen dash cam evidence in court:
- The footage should capture the moments leading up to the accident, such as the driver who hit you swerving or running a red light.
- It should not capture you saying or doing anything that could suggest that you were at fault for the car crash.
- The dash cam should record the aftermath of the accident, including what you said and whether you were too hurt to get out of the car.
Remember that you must have the consent of all of your passengers if the camera records audio inside your car. Otherwise, you may not be able to use it in court.
Need Help Strengthening Your Injury Case? Will & Will Can Help
Is dash cam footage admissible in court? In most cases, it is. But how you use dash cam evidence in court is what can make the difference in your case. At Will & Will, our experienced personal injury lawyers know how to use dash cam footage to benefit our clients. We can build you a strong case with or without dash cam evidence.
We have decades of experience, and we are ready to put that experience to work for you. Ready to win compensation for your auto accident injuries? We can help. Call 206-209-5585 or contact us online.