Traffic cameras at intersections and along highways are a common sight in Tennessee today. While these cameras are intended to help enforce traffic laws and discourage drivers from speeding and running red lights, they could also capture important footage of car accidents.
It is rare to obtain traffic camera footage of a car accident. Still, a skilled Tennessee car accident lawyer can help. Traffic cameras are usually maintained by the state or law enforcement, but many are only designed to take photographs, not to capture around-the-clock surveillance. However, with the number of private cameras in use today, it is possible to obtain footage captured on a camera other than one intended for traffic.
If you were injured in a car accident and want to know if there is traffic footage capturing it, our Tennessee car accident lawyers can help you determine if it exists. For a free case evaluation, call Howe Law at (844) 876-4357.
How Can I Obtain Traffic Camera Footage for a Car Accident in Tennessee?
Most people are aware today that many places have nonstop surveillance coverage thanks to the advances in security technology and cameras. States like Tennessee take advantage of this by installing traffic cameras across the state. These cameras are typically installed at red lights and along busy roads known for speeding. Tennessee also maintains live traffic cameras throughout the state in order to monitor weather and traffic conditions.
Determining Who Owns the Traffic Camera that Recorded Your Accident
However, obtaining traffic camera footage after an accident can be extremely challenging without legal help. The first hurdle to overcome is determining who owns and maintains the camera that potentially captured footage of your accident.
Many traffic cameras are owned by the state and maintained by the Tennessee Department of Transportation (TDOT) or the Tennessee Highway Patrol. Alternatively, many red-light and speed cameras are owned by a city or local municipality that the camera is located in. In those cases, the local government or police department will need to be contacted to recover your car accident footage.
Methods to Recover Traffic Camera Footage
Regardless of who owns the camera, traffic accident footage only tends to last for a short time before it is deleted. Requests for footage will need to be made quickly since time is of the essence. Some local governments and police departments have web portals that allow car accident victims to request traffic camera footage if they know the date and location of where the accident occurred.
A formal request for the footage can be made for agencies that do not have online services. This can be done in the form of a request for information. Fortunately, Tennessee car accident victims can request public records from TDOT by following the steps listed on their website. However, agencies are likely to ignore these requests from the general public, as most agencies do not want to devote their resources to finding and processing the footage. However, our Nashville car accident lawyers can issue a subpoena demanding the release of the footage in question.
What Types of Traffic Cameras are Capable of Recording Car Accident Footage in Tennessee?
Tennessee is one of a handful of states that employs different types of traffic cameras. Each type of traffic camera is intended to accomplish different goals. Recovering footage from state traffic cameras can be difficult, and there is no guarantee for how long the owner will store the footage.
Red-light cameras are set up at busy intersections across the state. Red-light cameras are programmed to snap a picture of a vehicle when they run a red light to capture an image of its license plate and issue a citation by mail.
Unfortunately, red-light cameras usually do not capture live footage, only photographs. This means the chances that your car accident was captured on a Tennessee red-light camera will be slim unless the photo was taken at the exact moment the accident occurred. However, our Knoxville car accident lawyers can help you obtain photos of your accident if they exist.
Tennessee also utilizes speed cameras on road construction sites and highways. Speed cameras are intended to deter speeding by photographing a speeding car’s license plate. However, speed cameras operate just light red-light cameras, so recovering a picture of a car accident when it happened will be rare.
TDOT maintains what is known as live cameras throughout the state. Live cameras record footage daily to provide travel information, like weather conditions and traffic flow. However, TDOT does not typically store these recordings, so recovering footage of a car accident from a live camera might not be possible. Our Murfreesboro car accident lawyers can still help you request the potential traffic footage and determine how to move forward if no footage exists.
What Options Do I Have If No Traffic Camera Footage of My Tennessee Car Accident Exists?
You might have gathered that there is little chance of recovering footage from a state traffic camera. However, one advantage to living in an increased security environment is that many other types of surveillance cameras will likely be nearby that can capture footage of a traffic accident. These types of cameras are usually owned by a private individual or business, though, which can act as a barrier to recovering footage of your accident.
Many drivers today have dashboard cameras installed to protect themselves when a car accident occurs. Dash cameras can show multiple angles of an accident and provide vital evidence of how the accident was caused. However, recovering dash-cam footage can be challenging since it is owned by a private citizen who is under no obligation to cooperate.
Private Security Cameras
Most businesses maintain several surveillance cameras around their property. These cameras can provide critical footage of a car accident as they can show angles that clearly illustrate who was at fault. It would be best if you acted quickly, though, as businesses usually only keep the footage for a short time. Our Tennessee personal injury lawyers can review your case to determine if any nearby security cameras filmed your accident and request the footage from the owner.
Our Tennessee Car Accident Lawyers Can Help
If you need help obtaining traffic camera footage of your car accident, our Tennessee car accident lawyers can help review your options and help make the necessary inquiries. Contact Howe Law today at (844) 876-4357 for a free review of your case.