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What Are Dash Cams and Why Are They Important?

Dash cams, short for dashboard cameras, are compact recording devices strategically placed within vehicles. They primarily capture footage of the road ahead, but some advanced models can also record the car’s interior or rear view. These cameras serve as unbiased eyewitnesses, documenting everything that happens while you drive, making them invaluable tools for ensuring road safety, providing evidence in case of accidents, and protecting drivers from potential false claims.

How Do Dash Cams Work?

Dash cams work by using your vehicle as a power source and recording whenever your car is turned on. Alternatively, if the dash cam is hardwired into the vehicle, it will record when a sensor detects a collision or when the camera detects motion. In some dash cams, they have a “parking mode” which continuously records, even if your vehicle isn’t turned on. 


Types of Dash Cams: Exploring the Varieties

  • Front-Facing Cams
  • Rear-Facing Cams
  • Dual-Channel Cams

Dash cams are usually put in place to submit to insurance in case of an accident and protect yourself from undue liability. 

Dash Cam for Car: Selection and Placement

There are a couple of things to consider when you select a dash cam: 

  • Do you want internal or external recording?
  • How much storage capacity do you need?
  • How much are you willing to spend? 

Dash cams typically have storage of anywhere between 16GB to 512GB and come in both road-facing and cabin-facing cameras.

Prices can vary dramatically on dash cams depending on what you want from them. 

They will be pricier if: 

  • They are smart cameras
  • They have a larger amount of storage
  • There are a higher number of cameras
  • They record a higher-quality video

Where you place your dash cam is essential. In certain states, there are very specific laws about where they can be put. These are in place so that the dash cam doesn’t cause further accidents because it’s obstructing your view of the road.

Dash Cams in the Context of Accident Claims

Utilizing Dash Cam Footage in Claims

Dash cams can be vital in accident claims. It acts as proof of the amount of liability you have in any accident that you are a part of. 

Dash cameras can record: 

  • The timestamp of the accident
  • The color, make, model, and license plates of the vehicle that hit you
  • The particulars of your driving when the accident occurred, like your speed or if you stayed in your lane
  • Events after the collision, like any hostility or apologies that take place

If you need access to your dash camera footage for a claim, you can detach the dash cam from its mounting and connect it to a computer with a USB cable. Once there, you can find them in your computer’s file manager to view.  You can then submit the video to your insurance company. 

Dash cams are particularly useful in cases of:

  • Accidents involving a red light
  • Unsafe lane changes leading to a side-swept collision
  • Accidents when one driver turns left
  • Accidents with hit-and-run drivers

How Can You Request Dash Cam Footage?

If you want to request dash cam footage from the other party involved in the accident, you will need to contact a lawyer to formally request it. If it can be proven that the footage contains vital evidence of who is liable in the crash, the other party may be forced to turn the dash cam footage over. 

Can Dash Cam Footage Be Used Against You?

Yes, dash cam footage can be held against you. In fact, insurance companies will try their best to find something within them to hold against you. 

If you were speeding, recklessly switching lanes, or distracted, the insurance company will point that out and use it to prove that you were liable for the accident. 

Dash cam footage can prove that you were at fault, so it’s best to be careful. 

Dash Cam Laws and Regulations

Dash Cam Laws by State: A Comprehensive Guide

Dash cams are legal in all 50 states, but some states have more severe restrictions on how they can be used and regulations of where they can be placed than others. 

There are 12 states where you need permission from everyone involved to be recorded. This can cause some footage to not be admissible in court or in insurance claims. 

Most states only require that the dash cam doesn’t obstruct the driver’s vision. 

Other states, like Alaska and Arizona, require the dash cams to be under a specific size. 

There is also a long list of states that require dash cams to be adhered to the dashboard instead of the windshield. 

Pros and Cons of Using Dash Cams

Benefits of Dash Cams in Accident Situations

They Provide Evidence

Dash cams can capture video evidence of an accident to prove who was at fault to insurance companies. This is helpful in preventing your premiums from increasing and receiving financial compensation for any injuries or property damage that were caused by the accident. 

They Can Help Prevent Insurance Fraud

On occasion, there can be an instance where a motorist purposefully causes an accident, claims that it was your fault, and benefits from an insurance payout when they fake injuries. They typically choose types of accidents that are difficult to prove; but with a dash cam, you will be able to prove that you were not liable. 

They Can Help Prevent Reckless Driving

The presence of dash cams automatically pushes motorists to drive more responsibly, as they are being watched and any evidence of reckless driving can be used against them should something happen. 

They Can Help Prevent Break-Ins and Vandalism

Just the presence of a dash cam can deter break-ins or vandalism to your vehicle, as the culprit would be aware that they’re being recorded. 

They Can Protect Your Vehicle If It’s Damaged While It’s Parked

Certain dash cams will begin recording when motion detectors are set off near your vehicle, which will record someone breaking into your vehicle or hitting your car when it’s parked. 

Potential Dash Cam Disadvantages

Dash Cams Don’t Take Sides

The major disadvantage to having a dash cam is that if you are liable in any way for the incident, the footage can and will be held against you.

Privacy Concerns

It’s considered an invasion of privacy if there is a dash cam in a vehicle that is recording without the passengers’ consent. 

Legal Challenges if Not Compliant With Laws

If your dash cam isn’t placed correctly or breaks the law in some other way, it can potentially put you into legal trouble. 

Call the Experts at Naqvi Law

Dash cam laws can be complicated. 

That’s why it’s essential to give Naqvi Law a call to consult with one of our knowledgeable lawyers. As an agency that houses the “top one percent” of attorneys recognized by The National Association of Distinguished Council, our lawyers are not only highly skilled but also trustworthy. 

If you’re in need of a personal injury lawyer, call us at (702) 919-7543 or contact us on our website for a free consultation.