If you were in an accident and happen to have a dashcam that caught the crash on camera, you might want to use it as evidence. Similarly, if a witness stopped and said they caught the accident on their dashcam, you might want to get a copy of that footage to help with your case. But can you admit a dashcam as evidence for a car accident lawsuit in Mississippi?
Generally, any footage or still photos of the accident are going to be admissible as evidence one way or another. If you are fortunate enough to have the accident on camera, that can be incredibly strong evidence of how the crash happened and what the other driver did wrong. However, there are some threshold requirements and groundwork we need to lay to get the footage admitted.
For help with your case, call the Mississippi car accident attorneys at Howe Law today at (844) 876-4357.
Can You Use Dashcam Video as Evidence in a Mississippi Car Accident Lawsuit?
When you file a lawsuit, you need evidence to prove the other driver was at fault. Your own testimony will be strong evidence, but if the other driver contradicts what you were saying, then you should consider turning to objective evidence to help prove your side of the story.
Photos of the crash scene taken after the accident can be helpful, but it is much better if you have video of the crash in progress. Often, you can only get video like this if you have a dashcam, if someone else caught the accident on their dashcam, or if you happened to crash in front of a security camera. In any case, footage of the accident happening should be admissible.
Dashcam footage is usually admissible in a car accident case as long as the video is un-doctored and it is an accurate depiction of the accident. This can allow the judge and jury to see the crash for themselves, and it will help corroborate your story and show that you were indeed telling the truth when it comes to your side of the story about what happened and who was at fault for the crash.
How to Lay Foundation for Dashcam Footage in a Mississippi Car Accident Case
Generally, evidence needs to have something called “foundation” before a court will admit it. Our Mississippi car accident lawyers “lay foundation” by asking the witness on the stand questions about the footage to explain its relevance to the trial and its accuracy before we ask the judge to admit the video into evidence.
For any evidence, including photos and video, the evidence must be relevant under Mississippi Rule of Evidence 401. “Relevant,” under this definition, means that it shows a fact is “more or less probable” and it helps the jury “determin[e] the case.” Video of the actual crash happening right before their eyes would certainly be determinative evidence that helps them find out what likely happened. At the same time, footage of the roadway as it looked on the day of the crash or even photos of the accident scene after the accident might also be helpful to the task of determining what happened, especially if the photos depict vehicle damage and the relative locations of the cars right after the crash. This is all to say that photos and video of the location before and after the crash might even be relevant, so clearly video during the crash will also be relevant.
Usually, to admit dashcam footage, our attorneys will ask you on the stand whether you’ve had a chance to review any dashcam footage of the accident. If you have, then the next core piece of foundation we need to ask about is whether the footage accurately depicts the accident and what happened on the day of the crash. Once you’ve validated that this is indeed the footage you saw and it is accurate, then that’s usually enough to admit the video into evidence and play it to the jury.
The defense will get a chance to object to the admission, and if the judge needs to hold a hearing on the question, they will usually do so based on motions handled before a jury is even selected. At the very least, they will handle the issue out of the jury’s hearing. In front of the jury, the defense will also get a chance to cross-examine and try to ask questions that will undermine the video’s effectiveness as evidence.
Can You Use Someone Else’s Video in a Car Accident Case in Mississippi?
Many people have their own dashcams, which can be helpful if they end up being involved in a car crash. But what if you don’t have one and someone else who witnessed the crash does?
Generally speaking, anyone’s footage of the accident can be admitted as evidence of what happened, whether they were a party to the crash or not. If you have your own dashcam, that’s great; we can usually use that footage. If the other driver who hit you had a dashcam, then the law usually allows us to have them turn over that footage to us during your trial’s “discovery” stage, allowing us to use it against them. Additionally, if someone behind you or sitting at a cross-street had their dashcam on, that evidence can be used as well.
You can also use any other video of the crash, whether it be a security camera at a storefront on the street where the accident happened, a reporter filming a story down the street with your crash in the background, or even teenagers recording a TikTok when the crash happened.
Courts have the power to subpoena evidence belonging to someone else, and our attorneys can usually ask them to subpoena the video evidence and give us a copy. Then, you can review the footage to verify its accuracy, and we can either admit it through you or call the person who owed the footage to the stand to testify about it. Their first-hand account will also be great evidence if they saw the accident, too.
Call Our Mississippi Car Accident Lawyers Today
For a free case review about your Mississippi car accident case, call Howe Law’s Jackson car accident lawyers at (844) 876-4357 today.