Dashboard cameras, or 'dash cams,' are video cameras that can be mounted to the dashboard or windshield of a vehicle. When the vehicle starts, the dash cam will begin recording from the driver’s perspective on a continuous loop. These devices come with a wide variety of features, with prices typically ranging from $40 for a basic model, to $500 for an advanced option.
If you’re considering putting a dash cam in your car, remember that these small devices won’t protect you if you’re at fault. Dash cam evidence in court can be used against you if footage reveals you were responsible for the accident.
Should I use a Dash Cam?
Dash cams can be useful because they record everything from the driver’s perspective, showing a series of events exactly as they occurred. Dash cam evidence in court can be used to protect or discredit the drivers involved, particularly when the time and date are recorded on the file. The details captured by a dash cam have the ability to reinforce your claim, making it more difficult to refute.
According to Google Trends, the number of times 'dashboard camera' and 'dash cam' were searched dramatically increased throughout 2019. This surge in popularity is mainly due to the protection dash cams are able to provide. The color, make, and license plate of a car are able to be recorded, along with the apologetic or hostile reaction of the other driver involved. All of these details would provide support to your car accident claim.
Dash cams can be used to document other experiences as well, such as monitoring teenagers driving, or recording the details of a road-trip with friends.
Are Dash Cameras Legal in Virginia?
In Virginia, there are no current federal regulations that restrict the usage of dashboard cameras; as long as they are mounted in a way that does not obstruct the driver’s view of the highway through the windshield.
Be aware that some states prohibit the recording of others without their consent, however Virginia law states that dashboard camera recording is allowed in any area where the public has access.
Is there a Downside to using a Dash Cam?
Although having a dash cam can be beneficial, it’s important to remember that the recording doesn’t stop if you make a mistake. If footage shows that you contributed to the accident, it could ruin your case, and the insurance company would be able to get a court order and obtain the footage – using it against you.
It's not just the visual footage that motorists should be aware of, if dash cam audio reveals loud music blasting at the time of the accident, or any type of distraction, it will be used against you.
In Virginia, a person must be completely without fault to secure any type of compensation in a personal injury claim. This means if the footage showed otherwise, you could lose your case.
At this time, car insurance companies do not offer a discount for having a dashboard camera installed, so it will not directly affect your insurance premium. As technology moves forward and the popularity of dash cams continues to rise, we can expect to see more motorists using these small devices.
We're Here to Help
If you've been hurt in a car accident and are unsure of whether your dash cam video will provide evidence for your case, contact Geoff McDonald and Associates today for a free consultation.
Our No Fee Guarantee® policy means that you don't pay us a legal fee unless we win or settle your case, so please reach out to us with any and all questions and concerns.