Our clients in the Tampa Bay area occasionally ask us if we can retrieve footage from the intersection traffic cameras as evidence after an automobile accident. These little white cameras on top of traffic lights are not red light cameras and they do not record footage that can be retrieved in the future.
What are the white cameras on top of traffic lights?
So what do they do?
These are traffic monitoring cameras owned by the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT). They exist to help the flow of traffic and provide a live stream used by traffic engineers, law enforcement, cities, and counties.
These cameras record in real-time, so there is no recorded video from these cameras. Technically, the FDOT does occasionally save footage from these cameras. But, the likelihood that your accident happens in front of an FDOT camera, it’s recorded, your attorney somehow finds out about it, and you can successfully subpoena it is very very low.
The good news is that footage from these white FDOT cameras is not needed to prove a car accident case.
Can red light cameras provide evidence for my car accident case?
Unfortunately, no. These cameras are only used to capture red light violations. So really, they don’t even record until someone crosses the white line while the traffic signal is red.
Intersection cameras, often referred to as red-light cameras, are tools used to enforce traffic laws and ensure road safety. They automatically capture an image of a vehicle that enters an intersection against a red light, providing evidence for potential traffic violations.
Some intersections with these cameras have sensors below the road, so if the intersection begins to get backed up, the sensors can adjust the timing of traffic lights.
The good news is that even though camera footage cannot be attained and used as evidence, law enforcement and 911 dispatchers can easily respond to an emergency or traffic issue in the intersection, including car accidents.
What kind of cameras can I use as evidence in my car accident claim?
If you are injured in a car accident in Florida, obtaining video evidence of the incident can be very helpful for your attorney to get you the money you need to pay your bills and rebuild your life.
Now that we know securing footage from FDOT weather and traffic cameras and red light cameras is pretty much out, what video footage might be available to actually help your case?
Speed Camera Photos
Speed cameras were recently legalized in Florida in June 2023 specifically for use in school zones. Once they are installed, Florida law enforcement will be able to capture people speeding through school zones without a police officer seeing the incident, just like a red light cam.
This could mean that if you are involved in a car accident in a school zone you might be able to get video of your accident. This would be very helpful not just for car accidents but for pedestrian accidents and bicycle accidents that are so common around schools and that usually result in catastrophic injuries.
But, much like traffic and red light cameras, the same barriers seem likely and the chances of getting this footage seems slim. But who knows? Maybe the local governments will take into account the need for camera footage in these areas and make it more easily accessible.
Surveillance cameras on businesses are actually great sources of video to prove liability in a Florida car accident.
Business or home security cameras are usually facing in the direction of a road since they are usually attached to a building and pointed out. They also record either 24/7 or when they detect motion so they usually capture the footage when it happens within their view.
Since these cameras are privately owned you do have to contact the owner directly to request access to footage but they are usually more than happy to help. But be sure to act quickly or contact a lawyer right away since this type of footage is usually deleted relatively quickly.
The fact is, doorbell cameras like Ring and Nest have revolutionized criminal and civil law cases. Everything from traffic accidents to heinous murder cases has been solved using doorbell cameras and I suspect they will only continue to improve in quality and quantity.
A dashboard camera (aka dash cam) can be a vital tool in providing evidence for a car accident claim when they happen to capture the incident.
The most direct use of a dash cam in a car accident case is to capture real-time footage of the accident. This can show the circumstances leading up to the collision, the moment of impact, and the aftermath. It provides an unbiased and accurate account of what happened.
But a dashcam can also be crucial for:
- determining who was at fault
- the date and time of the incident
- the license plate in a hit-and-run
- audio evidence made by the drivers and witnesses immediately after the accident
- protect against fraudulent claims
- be presented as evidence in court if the case goes that far
It’s important to note that obtaining dashcam footage can vary depending on local laws.
In more and more cases, bystanders using smartphones have caught video of accidents that are often better than traffic cameras and doorbell cameras. If can, speak to eyewitnesses following an accident to see if they filmed or photographed any images that might be useful to your case.
Even if they did not, make sure to get their name and number so your attorney can get their eyewitness statement for evidence.
Footage Recorded by You
If you are involved in a car accident, you should take video footage of the accident scene yourself.
This video should include the negligent driver’s vehicle, your car, any debris, and anything else like the intersection and everything around you. You should also record video or take pictures of your injuries if they are visible. This evidence of your injuries from the accident scene can be crucial evidence alongside your medical records.
Do not delete any videos or photos you took at the accident scene until your attorney has copies of them or ideally, until your case is over.
Contact the Experienced Personal Injury Attorney at Jones Law Group
When you contact our office we will immediately either put you on the phone with one of our attorneys or set an appointment time for you to meet your attorney.
You never pay us a dime unless we recover compensation for your injuries!