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Using Dash Cam Evidence in Your Car Accident Claim

Using Dash Cam Evidence in Your Car Accident Claim

Let's face it: accidents will happen! While you may do your part as a responsible citizen and avoid harming a passerby or another driver, the same can't be said for everyone else on the road. You could be involved in a head-on collision, rear-ending accident, side collision, or any number of different scenarios even if you drive responsibly and abide by the traffic laws.

So, let's assume that the worst comes to face – what to do now? We all know that the liable party can be brought to justice and made to pay for the damages they've caused because of their negligence.

You've probably been told that you should get a dash cam, but how does a dash cam help in these situations? In this article, we'll answer it all and more.

Crash Scene Checklist

Depending on the local laws governing your state, you'll have to provide compelling evidence of the accident to show that the event did happen, share the identity of the liable party, and prove that they were responsible for causing the car crash.

But what information do you need to collect? Luckily we have put together a Crash Scene Report checklist for you:

Download this BlackboxMyCar: 6 Steps to Managing An Accident checklist to print out and keep it in your vehicle to help you gather all the information you need to file a claim.

What to do at the crash site

Scenario 1: Collision - Minimal damage, all parties on scene

This is our "best-case scenario" because you can take your time and go through the evidence checklist to ensure you have everything you need for post-accident documentation and insurance claim forms.

So if you were able to get all the information you needed to file that claim, do you still need a dash cam? The answer is yes - but it will be additional evidence.

Scenario 2: Collision - Major damage or injury

Now, the accident is quite severe, and you cannot get out of your car to get photos or exchange information with the other party. In this case, your dash cam footage will then be your only crash scene report. Your insurance company would very likely be able to gather information from your footage to complete your claim.

What if you don't have a dash cam? In this case, your claim will rely heavily on reports from the other party or witnesses. Hopefully, they are as cooperative and truthful as you need them to be.

Scenario 3: Hit & Run - Collision

Hit and run accidents are some of the trickiest claims to file, as they happened so fast that you didn't get a chance to note down any information before the guilty party left the accident scene.

Remember those posters at intersections pleading for witnesses? You will be making some of those posters because there is no way to prove what or how it happened unless you have dash cam footage.

Now, if you have dash cam footage of the accident, you can send it to your insurance company and the police so they can do their investigation.

Scenario 4: Hit & Run - Parked car

The good news is you weren't in the vehicle, so there's no injury sustained. The bad news is you have no idea who, what, or when your car was hit.

Again, you or the insurance company and the policy might never find out what happened unless you have dash cam footage or an "I can be your witness" note from a good Samaritan.

How to retrieve accident footage from your dash cam

Some dash cams come with a built-in screen, so you can try to find the accident footage right on the dash cam. We have heard of drivers playing the footage for the on-scene police office right on the built-in screen.

Dash cams that come with built-in screens:

If your dash cam doesn't come with a built-in screen, most likely, the brand has a free mobile viewer app in the App Store or the Google Play Store that you can download onto your smartphone.

You will then use the app to connect your phone to the dash cam to playback the accident footage and save it or even share it via email right from your phone.

If your dash cam doesn't come with a built-in screen or a mobile viewer app, you will need to take the microSD card out of the dash cam and plug it into your computer to access the video file.

How do I know which file is the accident footage?

All dash cams record videos onto the microSD card inside the dash cam.

Accident files are typically labeled or saved in a separate folder on the microSD card. This is to make sure the video doesn't get overwritten by the loop-recording feature of the dash cam. As long as the accident, driving or parked, is strong enough to trigger the dash cam's g-sensors, the video will be saved and protected in a special folder so that you won't have to worry about it being erased or overwritten.

For instance, on Thinkware dash cams,

  • Driving accident video file be in the evt-rec (Event Recording) or Continuous Incident folder
  • Parking accident video file will be in the parking_rec (Parking Recording) or Parking Incident Folder

BlackVue dash cams:

  • Driving accident video files will have the “Event” label
  • Parking accident video files will have the “Parking” label

VIOFO dash cams:

  • Emergency recording files are locked and saved in the DCIM\Movie\RO folder, or Locked Files tab on the mobile viewer app
  • Parking recording files are stored in the DCIM\Movie folder, or on the Parking Files tab on the mobile viewer app.

Nextbase dash cams:

  • Accident files are saved in the Protected Files folder

Is there any way a dash cam can prepare the accident report for me?

Yes. Nexar offers the 1-Click Report™ feature on its Nexar Beam and Nexar Pro dash cams. If you were in a collision you can have your Nexar dash cam send a report to your insurance company, or email it to yourself (or anyone else) using the 1-Click Report™ feature. The summary report includes four crucial pieces of information: your speed at the time of the collision, force of impact, your location and a video clip of the incident. This can be used to make your insurance claims process easily.

Should I spend more money on a dash cam that offers Buffered Parking mode?

That's a great question - what is buffered parking mode?

Buffered parking mode is the ability of the dash cam to record without writing to the memory card. When you power down your car or if your vehicle has been motionless for a certain period, the dash cam will go into "sleep mode" - this is where the camera stops recording and goes into standby mode. Once an impact has been detected, such as a hit, the camera will wake up and resume recording.

While it only takes a few seconds for the camera to wake up, a lot can happen in those few seconds - such as the other car driving away. So if your dash cam doesn't have buffered parking recording, there might be a chance the camera didn't get all the footage you needed to file your claim.

On the other hand, a dash cam with buffered parking mode will wake up and start recording as soon as the camera's motion sensor detects any movement. If no impact is detected, the camera will erase that recording and go back to sleep.

But if impact is detected, the camera will add this short clip to the accident video and save it all into the event file folder.

In other words, buffered parking mode gives you before and after footage of the hit and run.

Is Cloud auto-backup crucial? Do I need it?

Auto-backup essentially means event files are automatically uploaded to the cloud server. This Cloud feature comes in handy in situations where you are separated from your car and dash cam after the accident. For instance, you were taken to the hospital from the accident scene, your car was towed to a lot, or it was a break-and-enter and both your vehicle and dash cam were stolen.

BlackVue dash cams: with Event Live Auto-upload, and since the incident is saved in real time in the Cloud, you will always have incriminating video proof to show the police–especially if you use an interior-facing camera, even if your dash cam is stolen or damaged.

Thinkware dash cams: only strong impact video files such as a strong collision while you're driving, are auto-uploaded. The dash cam will need to be connected to a hotspot for auto-backup to occur.

If you have a Nextbase dash cam, clips are uploaded to the Cloud only if you push them. In other words, cloud backup won't work if you don't have access to your dash cam after the accident.

Which dash cam gives me the best protection in any accident scenarios?

Why we love this dash cam:

  • 4K UHD recording to give you the best video quality
  • Ability to send push notifications and auto-backup files to Cloud (but must be connected to hotspot)
  • Buffered parking mode for a comprehensive account of parking hit and runs
  • available in 1-Channel, 2-Channel Front and Rear

Why we love this dash cam:

  • 4K UHD recording to give you the best video quality
  • Ability to send push notifications and auto-backup files to Cloud (but must be connected to hotspot)
  • Buffered parking mode for a comprehensive account of parking hit and runs
  • available in 1-Channel, 2-Channel Front and Rear and 2-Channel Front and Interior

Why we love this dash cam:

  • 4K UHD recording to give you the best video quality
  • Ability to call for help in case you can't do so yourself

When To Call A Lawyer?

This is a million-dollar question (quite literally in some cases, although most such settlements value in thousands) – timing is everything. You need to understand first that the liable party and their representatives or even your own insurance company are not your friends, they want to get their hands clean by paying you the bare minimum amount possible.

Only your injury attorney will present a fair estimate of your economic and non-economic damages and show you how you can claim the said sum. This means that your lawyer should be the first person with whom to share this information – call a good lawyer as soon as you can, and don't delay matters.

Your lawyer will first brief you on your position in the case and how matters are sensitive – they'll then guide you on how to express your position (pay close attention to what you say and how you say it) and then move ahead with the settlement negotiations. When negotiating with the insurance adjuster, the string of evidence and documentation collected earlier will add much-needed weightage to your side.

If firsthand evidence is lacking, lawyers can get an accident reconstructionist team on board to help understand how the crash happened and who was responsible. Even if you were partly responsible for the crash, don't let go of your legal claim and don't go on and admit your fault. Everything should first be discussed with your attorney, no one else!

Next, do as your lawyer says.

Hopefully, this covers everything you need to know about the aftermath of a car accident and how a dash cam can save you time, money, and stress. If there are any questions, feel free to reach out, and we'll get back to you as soon as possible!

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