How to Get Traffic Cam Footage of a Michigan Car Accident

Legally Reviewed and Edited by: Terry Cochran

Traffic cameras are everywhere, from traffic lights to toll bridges. You might be surprised at the number of video cameras present during a typical drive. After suffering an injury from your car accident you may need to gather all the evidence you can to support your personal injury claim, including traffic camera footage.

Video camera footage can be a vital tool for proving the driver’s fault and receiving a fair settlement.

The Importance of Traffic Camera Footage for Your Car Accident

A traffic camera video showing the collision in real time is as helpful as police traffic crash reports, photos of the accident, and medical bills for your claim. The other vehicle may have been speeding, running red lights, or texting at the time of the collision.

A video recording is also valuable for documenting what happened after the crash, such as a driver’s apology, admission of fault, and if there were signs of hostility from them. It can also show signs of impairment from drugs or alcohol in the other driver.

The insurance company will assess what the recording depicts. The time-stamped recording may be enough proof for the insurance company to settle your claim without a court hearing.

If your case goes to trial, you need to maintain that the video represents the events accurately before the judge allows a jury to hear it. The judge may see it before the jury can see it. If the court allows the jury to view the tape, it might influence the jury’s decision on damages and liability.

How You Can Get Traffic Camera Footage of Your Car Accident

Michigan has over 699 live traffic cameras on state roads and freeways that are accessible to the public. However, they only record for training purposes and monitoring traffic.

The use of automated enforcement cameras, including red light cameras, is also disallowed in Michigan. Railroad crossings, however, may use traffic monitoring devices, but only for non-enforcement purposes.

While you can request traffic camera footage from law enforcement, it might not capture the seconds before the accident that establish the other driver’s negligence. There is a possibility of a technical issue with the footage or that the camera didn’t capture the accident from the right angle.

Other cameras around the area could also have caught your automobile collision, such as surveillance cameras installed by nearby local businesses or dashcam footage taken by other drivers. Since obtaining footage from the scene of an accident can take considerable time, contact a personal injury lawyer as soon as possible to help you access the recordings you need.

Request Police Video Footage

After a police officer visits the accident scene and takes the accident report, you can request their video footage from their body camera. Michigan state police may grant video camera footage under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) upon written request. The request must include the following information:

  • Your full name, mailing address, and phone number
  • A thorough description of the record you require

Make sure your request contains as much information as possible so the department can locate the footage. Add the approximate time, date, and location of your car accident in your request. Put the police officer’s name and badge number from the police report if you have it. You should indicate that the FOIA applies to your request.

They must inform you in writing whether your request is granted, denied, partially granted, or denied in part within five business days of receiving it. Alternatively, they may inform you if they need ten extra working days to complete your request.

If the public body does not respond, your request has been denied where its refusal to respond was purposeful and willful. Therefore, it is crucial to double-check your request with your car accident lawyer before sending it.

Ask Private Businesses for Their Video Footage

Most retailers, restaurants, and other local businesses have surveillance cameras at their entrances to prevent shoplifting. Some of these cameras face nearby streets and highways. Other sources of surveillance footage include ATMs, which may film a nearby accident when aimed at the customer.

The cameras may provide you with real-time footage of your car accident, which can support your claim. A local business may capture your car accident on a private security camera if it occurs in a commercial district or at an intersection.

Many businesses save the recordings, but others remove or overwrite them within a few days of the accident. However, they don’t have a legal obligation to share a copy of the video with auto accident victims. If you hire an experienced attorney, they can assist you with locating surveillance cameras and retrieving footage from the owners.

footage of a Michigan car accident

See if Other Drivers Have Dash Cam Footage

Even though most people know that police cruisers come with dash cams, personal dash cams have gained popularity in recent years. The footage from a dashcam may record the brand, model, color, and license plate of the car that sideswiped you in a hit-and-run accident. If other drivers witness your collision, ask them if they have dash cams in their vehicles.

As long as a car is in gear, a standard dashcam will record everything that occurs in front of you. The more sophisticated dash cams capture internal audio and video and include a rear-facing camera. Some even stream live on the internet.

With a polite request to the driver, you might get a recording of your car accident. However, you may need the help of an attorney to do so. If they cannot provide you with their dashcam footage right away, ask them to save it and request their contact information so you and your personal injury attorney can request it.

Get Help Obtaining Traffic Camera Footage With a Car Accident Lawyer

If another driver caused your car crash and you have video footage, you may have grounds for a compensation claim. The car accident lawyers at Cochran, Kroll, & Associates, P.C. can help you if you have questions about obtaining a copy of the video or other publicly available evidence for your accident.

Our contingency fee basis means we only get paid if we win your case, so there is no financial risk to you to get started. Call our law firm today at 866-MICH-LAW and schedule your no-obligation, free case evaluation.

Disclaimer : The information provided is general and not for legal advice. The blogs are not intended to provide legal counsel and no attorney-client relationship is created nor intended.

Jasmine Holt is a freelance writer specializing in legal content marketing for attorneys and law firms. She hopes to provide better legal advice to the general public using her previous experience working with a franchise company and a law firm. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her family and traveling.

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