Why are cameras useful?
We live in a world now full of CCTV, videos and cameras. Our every move it seems is being monitored almost incessantly by surveillance.
Apparently, the UK is one of the most CCTV monitored western countries with more speed cameras for example per square mile than anywhere else in Europe. Depending on your point of view this may be a good or bad thing.
For lawyers looking to recover damages on behalf of injured cyclists especially, it may not be such a bad thing. The more evidence there is to point to speedy and negligent motorists the more chances there is of compensation.
How often when there are no witnesses sometimes even to a serious collision, do we get the third party making up a story about what happened? Perhaps having issues with cyclists in general influencing their reaction which makes proving breach of duty sometimes tricky?
In recent years especially, the use of helmet cameras for cyclists has expanded dramatically with many more makes coming onto the market.
In fact, the use of lights attached to helmets has expanded dramatically too and sometimes there are cameras which give off strong front and rear beam.
As an accident preventative piece of equipment, it could be the most valuable piece of investment a cyclist can buy. It is also true that it can act as a deterrent. The camera is often quite noticeable when a car is approaching and just as a speed camera may have a similar effect it may alert the motorist to ensure the correct standard of care is applied when approaching the cyclist.
Helmet cameras are being increasingly used by cyclists, now used in the courts to provide evidence which can make all the difference. It is important to note that the video footage from a helmet camera will need to be downloaded onto a proper device which can be used in evidence in court. A witness statement would ideally be attached to confirm the footage has not been tampered with if it is to be relied on in court. If it is not done in this way there will always be doubt over its reliability in the face of other conflicting witness evidence.
KLS law in their pursuit of justice for cyclists who are victims of accidents have increasingly come to rely upon such evidence.
An example case
For example, a cyclist who was filtering and was undercut by an offending third party driver successfully relied on the camera footage to refute the contention that the third party had indicated first which she had not.
Disclosure of the camera evidence will in most cases ensure an admission of liability is forthcoming and avoid the need for court proceedings.
There have been many more examples especially in the past few years of the camera footage playing a decisive part in the outcome of cases.
On a similar theme there has also been an expanded use of dash cam devices fitted into cars and heavy vehicles. Often now insurers will also apply conditions for young drivers to have a dash cam fitted to be insured. In an accident claim, having such a camera to provide evidence could prove vital. Tachograph devices which usually have to be fitted to large heavy vehicles have been around for a long time. Disclosure should always be sought very early on of the third party to see if such devices have been fitted and to request the data from them. If there is delay as is often the case, a pre action disclosure application to court should be made.
Finally, staying on the subject of speed cameras generally, it is not widely known that CCTV speed camera footage on motorways needs to be requested from Highway’s Agency within 7 days of the incident. This is the subject of the enquiry to ensure it is not deleted or overridden, so fast action is needed. Similarly, if other non-motorway footage is needed whilst the rules are not so draconian, speed of action is essential also in the process of making the request to again ensure it is not deleted. Again, where there are no witnesses this footage could make all the difference to the success or failure of the claim.