When you are injured in a car accident, you likely are looking to file a lawsuit to get the compensation and justice you deserve. In building your case, you probably will be looking to leave no stone unturned when compiling evidence to support your claim. Footage of the accident itself can be incredibly useful when filing a car accident lawsuit. You may, therefore, be wondering whether you can get traffic camera footage of your accident to help support your case.
Alabama does have traffic cameras littered through its highway system. However, it can be incredibly difficult to get traffic camera footage because there is no dedicated process for doing so and because the cameras only store the footage for a very short amount of time. However, there may be other sources of footage of your accident that can still be helpful to your case.
For a free review of your situation, call our Huntsville car accident lawyers from Howe Law at (844) 876-4357.
Traffic Cameras in Huntsville, AL: Explained
Before we go into how you can try and get footage of your accident in Alabama, it is important to understand how traffic cameras work and how footage is collected in the state. Each state in the USA has different rules about traffic cameras, different ways in which they collect and maintain footage, and different policies about video retention. In fact, some states do not store traffic camera footage at all. Therefore, it is important to understand how traffic camera footage is handled in Alabama before discussing how to try and obtain it for use in a lawsuit.
Alabama has traffic cameras scattered through all of its major roadways. They gather footage of what happens on the road, which can be seen on the ALGO website run by the Alabama Department of Transportation. On that site, you can view live footage of each camera and can sort by which ones are near certain major cities in Alabama. Other cameras in Alabama are owned and operated by local governments or law enforcement agencies.
Obtaining Traffic Camera Footage in Huntsville, AL
Getting traffic camera footage in Alabama is, unfortunately, a complicated process. If you were in an accident and wanted to obtain footage from a traffic camera, you first need to figure out who is responsible for operating the camera. Our Huntsville personal injury lawyers can help track down a camera’s specific owner.
For cameras owned by the Alabama Department of Transportation (ALDOT), you need to put in a request to the department to obtain the footage in question. Unfortunately, there is no easy way to do this. ALDOT does not have an online portal or phone number specifically dedicated to processing inquiries for traffic camera footage. Moreover, there is no guarantee that ALDOT will still have the relevant footage for your accident. Therefore, it is important to get in touch with our lawyers so you can get a request for footage in before it is deleted.
For cameras owned by local entities like police or municipal governments, you will need to put in an inquiry with the relevant camera operator. Again, there is no dedicated channel for putting in these requests. While our lawyers can certainly help, there is no guarantee that the camera-owning entity has kept the footage of your crash, and, even if they have, they may not want to hand it over right away. You may be able to use Ala. Code § 36-12-40 regarding the public’s right to access information to try and compel the entity to give you the footage, but they may still try and fight the request.
Traffic Camera Footage Alternatives in Huntsville, AL
The unfortunate reality is that, even when putting forth the best effort possible to try and get traffic camera footage, you still may be unable to obtain it. This could be because the camera owner refuses to hand over the footage or because the footage is no longer being stored. The good news is that there is a wide variety of potential alternative sources of footage of your accident. In this section, we’ll go into what some of those sources you may want to look into are.
Like many states, Alabama permits the use of dashboard cameras in motor vehicles. A dashcam is a camera that is mounted to a car facing forward. These cameras have many uses, ranging from taking in the scenery to serving as a way to capture what happens in the event of a car accident. We are, of course, interested in the latter use. If you yourself have a dashcam, you can simply give the camera to our lawyers, and we can obtain the footage. If someone else’s dashcam captured the accident, you may have to make a formal request to the camera owner to get the footage.
In this day and age, virtually everyone has access to a camera in their pocket. Accordingly, there is a decent chance that someone captured your car accident on their phone camera, especially if the accident happened near a highly populated area like a shopping center or busy street. Even if a passerby did not capture footage of the accident as it happened, they still may have footage of the aftermath, which can still be very useful for building a strong case.
Store and Residential Cameras
Stores and houses may have privately owned cameras that take footage of your car accident. To get this footage, you may need to ask permission from the homeowner or business owner.
Call Our Huntsville, AL Car Accident Lawyers Today
For help with your case, call Howe Law’s Alabama car accident lawyers at (844) 876-4357.