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Should I have a dashcam in my car?

As technology has become more and more advanced, more motorists are becoming interested in having a dashboard camera, or dashcam, in their vehicles. However, is it a good idea to install a dashcam in your car? 

There is some important information to weigh before deciding for or against adding a dashcam to your personal vehicle. Our experience as North Carolina car accident lawyers has found that they can be helpful in a broad range of situations, but they aren’t a cure-all for complex injury claims. The value you get out of your dashcam also depends upon the model you purchase and how you intend to use it.

With all this in mind, here is some general information and recommendations for using a dashcam in your car.

What Is a Dashcam?

Dashboard cameras — or “dashcams” — are small video cameras that can be mounted either on your dashboard or your windshield. The dashcam records what happens in front of the vehicle, and most models are programmed to turn on once the car is in gear or when an impact force is felt. There is a range of models, starting as simple as using an app to turn your smartphone into a dashcam to advanced (and pricy) models that can record audio, serve as a backup camera, and can even stream the Internet.

Dashcams usually record using an SD card and work on a loop, so once the card fills with footage, it will begin recording new footage over the old. This feature ensures that you have the most up-to-date information and video from your dashcam, but also means that if you have an accident, you’ll need to preserve the footage before the loop restarts and you lose the footage.

Dashcams can become very useful when trying to prove fault in an accident. However, it is important to note that as a dashcam can prove that someone else is at fault, it can also work against you by showing your actions prior to an accident. It will record everything, regardless of who is at fault. If you have been involved in a car accident in North Carolina, reach out to an experienced car accident attorney to help you navigate the aftermath of the accident.

What are the Benefits of Having a Dashcam?

If you have been involved in an accident, having dashboard footage of the accident can be very beneficial to you. Memories from a stressful time can fade and become less accurate over time, and camera footage of the accident provides an unbiased account of what happened.

In North Carolina, the burden of proof falls on the victim to prove that the other driver was at-fault for the accident, either due to recklessness or negligence. Footage from a dashcam can be invaluable when trying to determine the fault for the accident. It can also absolve you from any accusations made by other parties.

Another benefit that some people find from installing a dashcam is that it helps them be more accountable when driving. Knowing that every move is being recorded can help drivers, both experienced and inexperienced alike, be more mindful of their behavior on the road. Many parents of new drivers choose to install dashcams in order to better supervise their newly licensed drivers. 

What are the Drawbacks of Having a Dashcam?

Just as having a video recording of an accident can work in your favor, it can also work against you. Keep in mind that many dashcams record your movements, even recording your rates of acceleration and deceleration. It can also record the audio from inside the car, so it could also show any actions that may be considered irresponsible on your part, such as listening to excessively loud music. If given access to this footage, the other party could argue that those actions contributed to the accident.

Additionally, dashcam technology is not perfect. If weather conditions are unfavorable, or even if it’s dark outside, the quality of the video could be severely compromised and may not be able to show the accident well enough to have any bearing on your case. 

You must also familiarize yourself with your dashcam’s requirements for staying charged, keeping data available for recording, and so forth. In some cases, a dashcam was not working or was unable to record during a time when it was most critically needed! With this in mind, incorporate maintenance of the dashcam into your regular car care routine.

Is it Legal to Have a Dashcam in North Carolina?

The short answer to this question is yes, it is legal to have a dashcam in North Carolina. In fact, many trucking companies and law enforcement officers have been using dashcams for quite some time. However, it is a relatively new widespread technology, and as such, there are no state or federal laws in place to regulate their use.

There are some things to remember if you choose to install a dashcam in your vehicle. One: it is important to remember that you must mount your dashcam in a safe place that doesn’t obstruct your view of the road. Two: when it comes to recording audio, North Carolina is a one-party consent state, which means that as long as one person who is part of the conversation is aware that it’s being recorded, you don’t need the other party’s consent. 

Additionally, it needs to be noted that while you generally have the right to record in public spaces, such as highways and roads, where there’s not an expectation of privacy, you are generally not allowed to record on private property. Remember that places such as shopping malls and grocery stores are considered private property.

Can Dashcam Footage Be Used as Evidence in Court?

Dashcam footage can be used as evidence in court. It can be used in negotiations with the insurance companies, as well. However, as mentioned above, it is important to note that just as dashcam footage can strengthen your claim, it can also be used against you depending on your actions prior to the accident.

When you’ve been in an accident, if a police officer sees that you have a dashcam, they may seize it as part of their investigation into the accident. If this happens to you, make sure that you contact an experienced North Carolina car accident attorney to investigate the matter and make sure the camera was obtained legally.

Have You Been Injured in a Car Accident in North Carolina?

If you or a loved one have been injured in a car accident in North Carolina, contact an experienced car accident attorney to help you. At Auger & Auger, not only can we help review your dashcam footage of the accident, but we can also help gather footage from other vehicles, as well. With over 20+ years of experience serving the residents of North Carolina, an attorney from our office will fight for you to help you have the best chance at getting the compensation you deserve.

Contact us by calling (855) 971-1114 or find us online to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation with one of our experienced attorneys. When you schedule your consultation, an attorney at the firm can meet with you, listen to the specifics of your case, and provide you with individualized feedback about your case. We are here to make this process as easy as we can and that is why we even offer virtual meetings as well. Contact us today so we can start helping you move past your accident and get back to your life.

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