The legal benefits of dash cams

Paul Veillon is an attorney with Galileo Law in Seattle, Washington. With a practice in personal injury and diminished automobile value in traffic cases, Veillon is an expert on traffic law and in working with insurance companies.

“Insurance companies have been engaged in ‘fault shaving’ to a greater extent than ever,” Veillon tells Digital Trends. “Even in clear liability claims, they assert that their driver is only 90% at-fault, at least for the purposes of the property damage claim, to save 10% on collision repair, rental, or total loss charges; knowing that 10% of a claimant’s property damage isn’t enough to justify a lawsuit. Dash cams can help prevent frivolous liability defenses when another driver turns left in front of the owner or pulls from a stop sign or a private parking lot.

Insurance companies use a variety of ploys to deflect liability from their clients so as to save a few bucks on fixing your car. Many of those ploys can be refuted with dash cam footage. “When the insurance company claims the dash cam owner was going too fast or had time to react, the video footage can dispute it,” Veillon says. “The utility in red-light/green-light disputes is obvious, as is the utility in unsafe lane change collisions where the central question is the lane in which the impact occurred. For chain reaction rear-end collisions,

where the rear driver hits a middle driver and forces the middle driver into a lead vehicle, insurance companies often claim that the middle driver hit the lead vehicle first and is, therefore, 50% responsible for the collision. A dash cam can demonstrate the sequence of impacts.” Beyond simply documenting the mechanics of a crash, a dash camera can also help prove the severity of a crash. Some models of dash cameras include accelerometers that measure the force of any impact.

“Insurance companies often claim that a collision was just a ‘bump’ so no one could suffer injury, but a dash cam can provide some insight into the severity of the impact that damage to the rear bumper might not necessarily provide,” Veillon tells Digital Trends. “Finally, I have seen one circumstance where a driver rear-ended a commercial limo, normally a clear liability case, but video footage from a convenience store clearly supported the rear driver’s story that the limo made an illegal lane change, cut him off, then slammed on its brakes. The rear driver avoided fault for the collision and now has a dash cam installed on his Tesla.”

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