A car accident is frightening and traumatic, especially if you or someone you love suffers serious injuries. Often, the distress of a car accident in Texas continues long after the initial crash when injury victims find themselves facing the state’s fault-based insurance system. Unlike the few states with no-fault insurance laws requiring all accident victims to file claims against their own insurance policies, in Texas, the comparative fault insurance system requires claimants to prove liability on the part of the driver who caused the accident.
The at-fault party must pay for damages including property damage, medical expenses, lost income, and compensation for pain and suffering. However, the burden of proving their fault through a preponderance of the evidence becomes a complex responsibility. The insurance company of the party at fault in an accident often attempts to assign a portion of fault to the accident victim to minimize the amount they pay out in damages. Often, this is an unfair practice and only counteracted by strong evidence of the other driver’s negligence.
One way that accident victims sometimes prove fault and liability after a Texas car accident is to obtain video footage of the accident.
How Do You Request Footage From Traffic Cameras in Texas?
Video footage of an accident provides the most compelling evidence of fault to present to insurance companies when seeking compensation. While cameras can’t capture all accidents, today’s world offers significant opportunities for images and videos, including from traffic cameras. An experienced car accident attorney in Austin may issue a subpoena for local government entities to provide any available traffic camera footage from the site of the accident on the date and time the accident occurred. To acquire official traffic camera footage, an accident victim or their attorney must first ascertain the owner of the camera. Typically, traffic cameras are owned by one of the following:
- State, county, or city transportation agencies
- News organizations responsible for local television or radio traffic updates
- Local law enforcement agencies
- Private contractors
In some cases, requesting traffic camera footage from the correct agency results in a prompt response. At other times, it requires a subpoena. An accident attorney can diligently seek out and acquire traffic camera footage and build a compelling case around the footage to prove liability on the part of the driver at fault.
In a comparative negligence insurance state like Texas, you can still recover a portion of your damages even if you were partly at fault for the accident. The percentage of your fault is subtracted from your compensation amount. For example, if your damages add up to $100,000 after a Texas car accident claim but you are 25% at fault for the accident, you can still recover $75,000.
What Other Options For Accident Videos and Photos Could Be Available for a Car Accident Claim?
If no traffic cameras captured the accident, there may still be options for obtaining footage or images of the accident and/or the moments leading up to the accident. Nearby business surveillance cameras, security cameras, and even Ring Doorbell cameras may have inadvertently caught the accident on digital video. It’s possible to canvas businesses and private homeowners near the site of the accident to request access to security camera footage. In some instances, Dash-Cam footage from nearby vehicles also captures accidents and the motorists who own the cameras volunteer the video to officers at the scene of an accident.
Despite other options, traffic camera footage remains one of the best sources of evidence when cases come to trial since there is little doubt of its authenticity. In many cases, the existence of this type of video evidence makes a trial unnecessary since compelling evidence of liability makes an insurance company more likely to offer an out-of-court settlement to the victim. Speak to an injury lawyer in Austin today to learn more.