You need to take steps to protect yourself on the roadways. This includes not only defensive driving tactics but also having a camera in your car to record any incidents that may occur. Here, we want to discuss the legality of dashcams in Florida as well as whether or not you can use dashcam footage to help with your insurance claim or in court to win a personal injury case.
Are Dashcams Legal in Florida?
Yes, dashcams are legal in the state of Florida, but it is important to understand that Florida Statute 316.2004 indicates that drivers cannot operate with anything obstructing their vision on the windshield. The wording of this law is frustratingly vague, and it makes it hard to determine how much windshield can be covered before an object is qualified as an obstruction.
Most modern dashcams are made in such a way that they do not obstruct large portions of the windshield. Additionally, rear dashcams are available that do not obstruct large portions of the rear section of the window.
We do need to dig further and examine the law in Florida surrounding wiretapping (Florida Statute 934.03). Under this law, individuals are prohibited from collecting audio of another individual without first obtaining permission. This is relevant because many dashcams also record conversations and sounds inside of the vehicle. Any person who has an audio recording feature on their dashcam must tell others inside the vehicle that they are being recorded.
How This Footage Could Help (or Hurt) Your Claim
It is certainly possible to use dashcam footage as evidence in an insurance claim or in a civil personal injury lawsuit against another party. Dashcam footage is incredibly valuable when working to determine liability. If liability for an incident is unclear based on the facts at the scene, dashcam footage could show what happened directly in front of and behind a vehicle right before, during, and after the incident.
You need to be aware, though, that your own dashcam footage could be used against you. Even though you would most likely not volunteer your dashcam footage if you think you were at fault for a crash, if another person sees the camera in your vehicle, they could go through the court system to obtain the footage. Any attempt to destroy or discard evidence could be used as a sign that you are trying to hide liability.
Finally, it is important to never alter dashcam footage. Even if you are trying to cut down on time to show a specific incident, this could be seen as evidence of trying to alter the footage. In order for the dashcam footage to not become inadmissible, make no changes at all.
Working With a Car Accident Lawyer
It is crucial to work with a skilled car accident lawyer in Florida who has experience handling these claims. Your attorney will examine the facts of the case and gather all evidence needed to prove liability. If you have dashcam footage of the incident, your attorney will examine this footage and determine whether or not to use it. Individuals who are harmed due to the negligent actions of other drivers may be able to recover a wide range of compensation, including coverage of medical bills, lost wages, property damage expenses, and pain and suffering damages.