If you want to file a claim after a car crash, collecting evidence of the other guy’s negligence is key. While a police report, accident photos, and medical expert opinions are invaluable, hard evidence that shows the accident occurring in real-time can prove incredibly useful.
You may assume that if your collision occurred at an intersection, you can simply request the traffic camera footage. Unfortunately, New York laws limit the function of traffic cameras, but you may be able to access other surveillance camera footage to support your claim.
The Limits of New York Traffic Cameras
While most drivers assume that traffic cameras are constantly recording every intersection and street in New York, the truth is much more complicated. While there are roughly 220 traffic cameras throughout New York City, these devices are limited in their functions. Most of them do not necessarily record the roadway but stream it directly to the Department of Transportation. There are some photos archived through 511NY that you can access by checking the intersection where your accident occurred, but it is unlikely that it will have any reliable evidence.
Some speed cameras can take photos of a car’s license plate if it drives over the speed limit, but these are limited to school zones and may not provide strong evidence of an accident. If a driver did speed and injure you, you may be able to use that photo to support your claim, but you would not be able to receive detailed surveillance footage. Thus, you may not be able to rely on a local traffic camera to support your car accident claim, as it is unlikely that it was even recording the incident.
Private Camera Footage
But traffic cameras are not the only source of surveillance footage found in New York. Many stores, shops, and businesses have CCTV cameras set up at their entrances to keep an eye out for shoplifting; some are angled to record nearby roads. These cameras may actually catch real-time footage of auto accidents and may prove useful in your claim. ATMs are also another source of surveillance footage, as these machines have small cameras angled towards the user that can record a collision on a nearby road.
Accessing that footage, on the other hand, is another story altogether. While some companies may archive the footage, others may automatically delete or record over it within a few days of an accident. To access it, you will need to act quickly and contact the owners as soon as possible. Even then, they may give you the run-around, claiming that you have to speak to a corporate office or security company. But, if you have your lawyer contact them, they may be more likely to provide the footage in a timely manner. Businesses are under no legal requirement to release footage to accident victims — your attorney may be able to persuade them otherwise.
At the end of the day, one of the biggest obstacles is time. Footage can easily be lost if you do not secure legal representation immediately; which is why, if you have been involved in an auto accident in New York, you should immediately contact Wingate, Russotti, Shapiro & Halperin, LLP. Our NY car accident attorneys can review every detail of your accident and search high and low for any piece of evidence to support your claim. To discuss all of your options in a free consultation, reach out to our firm at (212) 986-7353.