Personal Injury Lawyers Bronx and Westchester County, New York

How To Get Camera Footage of a Bronx Car Accident

Immediate action can stop videos from being destroyed

Researchers estimate there are over 25,000 surveillance cameras in New York City, not to mention thousands of dashcams, millions of cell phone cameras, and numerous other recording devices. This means, if you were in an accident in the city, there’s a good chance someone recorded it. But how do you find out if anyone took video? And if someone does have video of the crash, how do you get a copy?

At Giampa Law, we believe that understanding the claims process, including how to collect video footage, can put an injured New York accident victim in the best position to collect maximum compensation. Our Bronx personal injury law firm has been building strong cases based on evidence, including video, since the 1990s. Here’s how to get camera footage of a car accident in the Bronx.

Types of camera footage that may be available

It is always a good idea for crash victims to obtain copies of accident videos whenever possible. Lawyers with experience in car accident cases can assess the value and admissibility of the evidence. Here are just some of the types of video footage that may be available in a crash:

  • Traffic and red light cameras. NYC has red light cameras at certain intersections, which can provide valuable footage of an accident.
  • Video footage captured by cameras mounted on the dashboard of a car involved in the accident.
  • Surveillance camera. Video footage captured by cameras mounted on nearby buildings or businesses.
  • Security camera. If the accident occurred in a parking lot, garage or other commercial property, there may be security cameras that captured footage of the accident.
  • Body camera. Any body-camera footage captured by police may be relevant.
  • Smartphones and cellphones. Bystanders or witnesses may capture the accident on their cell phone cameras.
  • Commercial truck camera. Commercial trucks are required to keep all types of records. If a semi-truck or other type of 18-wheeler was involved in the accident, they may have cameras mounted on the truck.

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    How to get a copy of a car accident video in New York

    No matter who has the footage, it is best to take immediate action to notify the owner of the video that they should not damage or delete the crash footage. In New York, there are specific laws that apply to obtaining camera footage of an accident. To ensure legal requirements and deadlines are met, many injured New York car accident victims turn to lawyers for help. Here are the steps a Bronx attorney may take to collect crash video for a client:

    • Conduct a site visit. The attorney may visit the scene of the accident to identify any cameras that may have captured footage of the accident.
    • Review the police report. The police report will often include information about any surveillance cameras in the area of the accident.
    • Interview witnesses. If there were witnesses to the accident, the attorney may ask them if they saw any cameras in the area and if they captured any footage.
    • Request video footage from businesses and agencies.
    • Send a spoliation letter. A spoliation letter tells the parties who may have control over the surveillance video that they should preserve the footage and not delete or overwrite it.
    • Obtain a preservation order or file a subpoena. If the spoliation letter is not effective, the attorney may seek a preservation order from the court to require the parties to preserve the video evidence.

    New York laws and other complications

    The availability of public or private surveillance video footage of a car accident in NYC can be affected by a variety of laws.

    • Privacy laws. The New York State Constitution and common law provide a right to privacy that may limit the use and disclosure of surveillance video footage that captures individuals in private places, such as their homes or restrooms. A lawyer may need to obtain a court order or subpoena to obtain such footage.
    • Fourth Amendment protections. The Fourth Amendment protects individuals from unreasonable searches and seizures. This may limit the use of video footage obtained by law enforcement agencies, such as traffic cameras or red-light cameras.
    • Stored Communications Act. The SCA prohibits the disclosure of certain electronic communications, such as email and text messages, without the consent of the parties involved or a court order. This may affect the availability of video footage captured by surveillance cameras that are connected to a network.

    Were there any cameras near the car accident?

    Video footage of a bad car accident can be some of the most compelling evidence in an injury compensation case. It can provide a clear and objective view of what happened and can help to establish fault and damages. The process to obtain the video depends on who owns it. Of the 25,000 cameras in NYC, the majority are on “private” properties, like places of business and homes.

    According to a study tracking the position of cameras in NYC, in the Bronx, private cameras are concentrated around specific intersections. Areas with the most cameras include:

    • Grand Concourse at 161st St, 175th St, and 199th
    • Blondell Ave at Tremont Ave.
    • Prospect Ave and 175th
    • White Plains Rd at 240th
    • Stillwell Ave at Eastchester Rd.

    The other 1,500 or so cameras are “public.” For the most part they are used by law enforcement and are usually installed at intersection traffic lights. Public cameras are concentrated in Bronx neighborhoods like:

    • University Heights.
    • Tremont.
    • Kingsbridge.
    • Co-op City.
    • Mott Haven.

    How an attorney can help

    The Bronx car accident attorneys at Giampa Law take aggressive action to protect and obtain camera footage and other types of evidence. We do whatever it takes to get our clients the proof they need and the justice and maximum compensation they deserve. If you were injured in a Bronx car accident, contact Giampa Law for a free case consultation.

    Act fast. Not only do you have to take quick action to preserve camera video footage after a car accident, but there is also a New York statute of limitations on car accident lawsuits and claims. A member of our team is available to hear from you any time, day or night. Contact Giampa Law today.

    Click here to download a PDF of this article, "How To Get Camera Footage of a NY Bronx Car Accident."

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