Video has always been a powerful presentation in legal proceedings and the latest technology has given everyone access. Pretty much everyone is walking around with some kind of camera, making it incredibly easy to capture video. This is having a dynamic impact on insurance claims and personal injury cases.
A video is worth a thousand words
People are using their security systems, dash cams and personal devices to capture material that shows insurance companies, lawyers, judges and juries facts you cannot get from police reports or eyewitness accounts. Investigators are going straight to public surveillance cameras to verify the circumstances of incidents. So are commercial retailers and office buildings, many of which have sophisticated camera systems.
Strength of surveillance video in personal injury cases
Savvy personal injury lawyers know it is often not what happened that matters, but what either party can prove with evidence. There is nothing more supportive of a case than surveillance video. Nothing impresses the court system or sways insurance companies like moving images. From claiming to fall on a wet floor to establishing the most likely scenario at an intersection crash, settlement negotiations can be greatly influenced by video.
In a personal injury claim, video can:
- Reveal which party is accountable.
- Clarify event sequences.
- Demonstrate if there were dangerous conditions that contributed to the accident.
- Show the severity of damage immediately following an incident.
- Provide lawyers, judges, juries and insurance companies with a clear indication of a victim’s physical injury.
Surveillance & California law
The law restricts how video content can be used in court. One of the strongest rules is that no video capture can be used that invades a person’s privacy. An example would be an insurance company challenging a workman’s compensation claim by showing behavior that contradicts the injury claim. An investigator can video the claimant in a park, store, restaurant or mowing the lawn. They cannot tape in private areas, such as in the claimant’s home.
Getting the right counsel for personal injury cases that involve surveillance video
Depending on the content, video can simplify or intensify negotiation and settlements. It can both show if allegations are exaggerated or if claims are genuine.
The Salamati Law Firm provides steadfast representation for victims of slip and falls, vehicular accidents, animal attacks, and medical and appliance mishaps. We will use surveillance where it helps and fight vigorously if it doesn’t. Expect our goal to be achieving the best possible outcome on your behalf. If you need personal injury legal advice or have been in an accident, give The Salamati Law Firm a call today.
Additional “personal injury & surveillance video” resources
- ACLU: Privacy and Surveillance, https://www.aclu.org/issues/national-security/privacy-and-surveillance
- The Constitution Project: Guidelines for Public Surveillance, http://www.constitutionproject.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/54.pdf