Cameras Everywhere: How Technology Assists in Finding Accident Fault
Traffic cameras, business cameras, even police body cams—the eyes of technology are all around us.
In finding fault for auto accidents, this is a great thing! But this footage is sometimes lost if people wait too long to contact a lawyer. Calling immediately after an injury accident helps get all the evidence available.
If you missed it, earlier this month attorney Cara Stigger discussed on WAVE 3 Listens how new technology helps clients who have been in accidents. Listen and learn how. If you have any questions about your own situation, please call (502) 458-5555.
JOHN RAMSEY: And welcome back to WAVE 3 Listens. Kaufman & Stigger injury lawyers are with us today and certainly this is an era of technology. There seem to be cameras everywhere and that’s true in injury law as well. With me now, Cara Stigger from Kaufman & Stigger. Welcome back to the show, Cara.
CARA STIGGER: Thank you!
JOHN RAMSEY: You know, you’re a parent: I think it’s, it is really unbelievable how fast technology has evolved, and how readily available it is to all of us in so many phases of life. True?
CARA STIGGER: Yes, very true.
JOHN RAMSEY: It is very true; and it’s true in injury law as well. Let’s talk about that a little bit. Cameras: when it comes to police officers, it seems that every time I turn on WAVE 3 news there’s a camera somewhere. Okay, he’s coming out of the car; okay, someone filmed this; someone had a phone handy; something like this—is this a good or bad thing in your business, Cara?
CARA STIGGER: Oh, it’s a terrific thing. It’s really helped us. And, part of what we do for our clients is to prove fault even though people’ve heard the term “no-fault,” but Kentucky is still a state where you have to prove fault on the other driver. And not that long ago, not the too-distant past, it was he said/she said, unless we had a witness. And even today, sometimes there’s witnesses but the police officer doesn’t write that down. So now with the body cams that the police officers are wearing, we’re able to see the scene: we’re able to see the people, the cars, the damage to the cars. We’re able to hear if he talks to a witness. Sometimes we get the information, sometimes we don’t. But it’s really helped in a lot of cases to be able to be there at the scene and hear what everyone says. In fact, I had one case where the police report said one thing and it didn’t seem right, but when we got the body cam, he had just made a mistake on the police report, so it really answered the question of “what happened?” in that case. Also, well for years we’ve been able to get the 911 reports, and that’s something we use and we’re able to get witness information sometimes by getting those transcripts from the police department. But the dash cam that police officers are using is also a source of information in some cases, but even more importantly now some of our clients are putting dash cams in their cars.
JOHN RAMSEY: Interesting.
CARA STIGGER: Yes. And we’ve had several accidents where, you know, it’s “who crossed the center line?” And it is, you know, in the olden days we had to hire an accident reconstructionist to go out, and have him take measurements, take pictures, look for evidence on the roadway. But now you look at the camera and it shows exactly what happened.
JOHN RAMSEY: So is it fairly common, Cara, for you in a case, for someone to pull out some kind of film footage, some kind of evidence in that direction? Is that commonplace now?
CARA STIGGER: It’s getting commonplace. There are still very few of my clients that have dash cams, but I have one particular client that had it where you could see the front and the back of their car. And so that would be helpful; front-end collision or a rear-end collision. And also, it’s not just for auto accidents but a lot of the businesses have not dash cams but cameras; and that has been valuable in a lot of cases where people are injured in a store. I had a particular client that—it was hard to understand how she was injured by an automatic door, but once we saw the footage, we were able to see the door opened the wrong way, and that’s what threw her to the ground.
JOHN RAMSEY: So you mentioned with police officers: they have body cams, they have dash cams; if you’re by a business there’s cameras everywhere. So if you’re in an accident, should you ask “Okay, what is available here?” Should you be aware and look around and say, “Okay, that could be helpful.” Is that how that works, Cara? Is that how that works?
CARA STIGGER: Most of the time when you’re in an accident you’re a little bit shaken up—
JOHN RAMSEY: Sure.
CARA STIGGER: —and that’s not the thing that’s on your mind. If you were able to do that, that would be great. But the best thing that you can do is pull out your own camera and take pictures. And even, you know, if you talk to a witness—I have lots of clients, where someone will come up and say, “I saw the whole thing,” but no one gets their information. So, if we go to court and there’s a dispute about fault, we can’t find that person. So it’s good to even say “Can I take a picture of your license?” or “Can I write down your information?” or take a picture of their license plate if their car’s in front of your car. It’s hard to think of those things, though, when you’re just in an accident and you’re upset; and everyone is upset right after an accident.
JOHN RAMSEY: Sure. That’s why you need the expertise of Kaufman & Stigger injury lawyers. Cara Stigger, this is great information. Thank you very much for your time; I really appreciate that. Again, if you’re in an accident, hey, video surveillance cameras may actually help you. Body cams on police officers, dashboard cams (perhaps you have one of those). By the way, if you need answers, there’s the information on your screen: Kaufman & Stigger injury lawyers. Cara Stigger, again thank you for your expertise and we’ll be right back on WAVE 3 Listens.