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Recorded the Crash, but Refuses to Share the Video

I’m David Holub, an attorney focusing on personal injury law in northwest Indiana.

Welcome to Personal Injury Primer, where we break down the law into simple terms, provide legal tips, and discuss topics related to personal injury law.

Today’s question comes from a caller who says “I was rear-ended, and when I got out of the car I noticed that the guy who hit me had a camera that recorded the entire crash, I requested a copy of the recording, but he refused to give me a copy, what are my legal options?

It is becoming common that people record their trips. We’ve had several cases where the recordings have proved to be instrumental in resolving liability issues, and allowing a jury to see exactly why our clients were hurt.

One case that comes to mind involved our clients recording their vacation trip when a semi sideswiped them sending them into a high-speed spin which eventually slammed them into a concrete barrier. It sent home the reason why nobody signs up to be a crash dummy.

If you are involved in a crash and it seems clear that the other driver recorded the incident, we would suggest avoiding an argument at the accident scene over a refusal to share a copy of a recording. But there are couple things that you can do.

You can make a verbal request that the driver with the camera preserve the video. I would even’s go so far as to make the preservation request in the presence of the police officer and the other driver. You can also ask the officer to document in the police report that you requested that any recording of the crash be preserved. Make it broad and say that you would like it noted that either party who recorded any part of the crash, or took photos or videos of the after-crash scene, is being requested to preserve those videos or photos.

Why is this important? Once a party is asked to preserve evidence, whether it be a video recording, photographs, or portions of the vehicles involved in a crash, the failure to preserve that evidence can justify the court imposing a penalty on the party at trial who fails to preserve the evidence.

That penalty can include barring contradictory evidence on the part of the party who failed to preserve evidence, as well as a jury instruction that the jury has the right to infer that any evidence that was not preserved would have been against the party who failed to preserve that evidence.

So, by requesting the preservation of a video or photos, and putting the other party on notice formally of that request to preserve, even if they don’t eventually give you that video, and they fail to preserve the evidence, they will not benefit from destroying evidence.

We’ve had many situations where the failure to preserve evidence has been important.

I hope you found this information helpful. If you have questions about your legal rights if you get hurt due to the carelessness of another person, or as a result of substandard medical care, or due to a product defect, construction injury, or any other type of personal injury, please give us a call at (219) 736-9700. You can also learn more about us by visiting our website at DavidHolubLaw.com – while there make sure you request a copy of our book “Fighting for Truth”.