Can Dash Cam Footage Be Used in Court? | Dash Cam Laws

Can Dash Cam Footage Be Used in Court? | Dash Cam Laws

February 15, 2022

Ellis Law Corporation

Car Accidents

If you or somebody you love has been injured in an accident caused by the negligence of another driver, you will likely be able to recover compensation through the other driver’s insurance carrier. However, determining liability involves gathering as much evidence as possible. Sometimes, one or more drivers involved in a vehicle accident have dash cams inside their vehicles. Here, we want to discuss whether or not you can use dash cam footage in court as well as basic dash cam laws in California.

Are Dash Cams Legal in California?

Dash cams are legal in California and Los Angeles County. However, there are certain requirements for dash cams in order for them to be legal inside of a car.

  • All dash cams must be fewer than 5 square inches if they are placed in the upper center of the windshield
  • Dash cams can be larger than five square inches but must be less than 7 square inches if they are in the lower right corner of the windshield
  • Dash cams can record sound in addition to audio, but passengers must be informed that their conversations are being recorded

In addition to a front-facing dash cam, these systems often come with the ability to install a dash cam in the rear area of the vehicle and connect to the overall system to record footage from both directions.

Can You Use Dash Cam Footage in Court?

Courts in California have said the dash cam footage can be used as evidence in property damage and personal injury claims. We all know the old saying that “a picture is worth a thousand words.” Well, a video is worth 1,000,000 words in a personal injury claim.

When you have video evidence that backs up your claim that another party was negligent, this can lead to a slam dunk when it comes to securing compensation for your claim. Dash cam surveillance footage can be particularly useful when fault is not clear based on the evidence at the scene, such as claims of an individual running a red light or if the other party says you were partially responsible for the incident.

However, dash cam footage cannot be altered in any way or tampered with. If it appears that the dash cam footage is edited, even just to cut down on the overall runtime, this could lead to the footage becoming inadmissible.

Dash cams can also help protect you from fraud. There are times when individuals purposely set other drivers up on the roadway and cause accidents. For example, individuals could pull in front of you and then purposely slam on the brakes and attempt to get you to hit them. There are many individuals who commit insurance fraud by causing accidents on the roadway that otherwise would not have happened. With a dash cam on board, this type of fraud is less likely to be successful.

We do need to point out that dash cam footage could just as easily be used against you. This could be true if another individual involved in the accident has a dash cam in their vehicle, but your own footage could also be used against you. If you do contribute to an accident through your own fault, and the other party finds out that you have a dash cam, they could go through the court system to obtain this footage.

Contact our Los Angeles car accident attorneys today.