Cars are getting safer.
Drivers are not.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), traffic deaths reached a 16-year high in 2021 and are on pace to reach a 20-year high in 2022.
With car insurance prices skyrocketing, customer satisfaction with auto insurers is dropping drastically. At a time when Americans are struggling to make every dollar go further, the last thing you need is a car accident that disrupts your finances.
In the current economy, it would not be surprising to see insurance companies denying more claims. As a driver, you need to do everything you can to protect yourself. Car accident cases are all about what you can prove. The best evidence is visual evidence. And one of the best ways to obtain visual evidence is with a dashboard camera.
More Americans Are Using Dashcams
Despite being a hyperconnected culture of digital device users, not enough people are using dashcams in their vehicles. But the U.S. dashcam market is catching up with markets in Europe, Russia, and Asia, where dashcams have long been popular. Grandview Research attributes U.S. dashcam growth to a response against bad drivers and a way to speed up car accident claims.
Anyone with a backup camera understands how cameras can make driving safer. Many newer vehicles have 360-degree cameras that virtually eliminate blind spots and make maneuvering in tight spaces much easier.
But backup cameras and other onboard cameras do not record footage the way that a dashcam does. So even if they observe an accident, there is no permanent record of what happened.
Most dashcams only record in front, or in back, of the vehicle. Newer models, though, can record 360-degrees around the vehicle, allowing footage to be captured at every angle. Single direction dashcams start at about $50 – $150, while 360-degree models cost approximately $150 – $350.
Compared to the potential costs of a car accident, a dashcam is a cheap investment. In 2020, car crashes cost the nation $474 billion, reports the National Safety Council. The economic cost of a car accident can range anywhere from $5,000 to $100,000, says NSC.
Benefits of Installing a Dashcam
Dashcams have been standard equipment in police cars and emergency vehicles for decades. They help officers record footage of bad drivers, traffic stops, and arrests. As dashcams cross over into the wider public, motorists are now using them to record what goes on outside of their vehicle, including encounters with other drivers.
Here are five ways that dashcams can help you if you’ve been in a car accident:
- Provide video evidence: Video evidence is the “gold standard” when it comes to car accident claims. People lie, eyewitness testimonies can be unreliable, and in many cases, it isn’t always clear who is at fault in a car crash. Video footage may be available from a traffic camera, but there’s no guarantee. Having a dashcam in your vehicle gives you access to firsthand evidence of any road incidents. Instead of a “he said, she said” situation, you can offer concrete proof that another driver ran a red light, failed to yield the right-of-way, cut in front of you, or violated some other traffic law.
- Catching Hit-and-Run Drivers: Hit-and-run car accidents are more common than you might think. AAA estimates that in a recent year, there were more than 700,000 hit-and-runs—or one every 43 seconds. Uninsured motorist coverage, collision, MedPay, and PIP may cover you in the event of a hit-and-run, but these are typically optional coverages, and not all drivers carry them. However, a dashcam can record the license plate (or at the very least, the make, model, and color) of the vehicle that hit you and fled the scene. This includes vehicles that run into you in the parking lot.
- Speed up the claims process: Delays in handling claims is one of the top reasons why consumers complain about insurance companies. Even if your claim is eventually accepted and you are paid a fair settlement, the insurance company will first investigate the crash to determine fault. This can involve obtaining the police report, contacting the drivers and taking their statements, going over witness accounts, and reviewing photographic evidence. Resolution can take anywhere from a few weeks to several months. Clear video footage of the accident captured by your dashcam can expedite the claims process and put insurance money in your pocket faster.
- Prevent insurance fraud: Law-abiding drivers may find it hard to believe that there are people out there who purposefully cause car accidents to collect insurance money. But it’s true. The way this works is that the fraudulent driver forces somebody else into a collision and has a false witness who tells the police the victim (i.e. YOU) is at fault. You may not be able to avoid an accident in this situation, but dashcam footage of the crash can help expose the fraudsters.
- Prove your case in court: Car accident lawsuits result when the insurance claims process cannot be resolved to the satisfaction of one of the parties. This could happen, for example, when a claim is denied, or the insurance company makes a lowball offer that does not fully cover property damage and personal injuries. Once your case goes to court, dashcam footage could prove to be a pivotal piece of evidence that helps you prove your claim. And in a court case, your attorney can demand that the other driver turn over any dashcam footage that they may have captured from their vehicle.
A word of caution about dashcams: they can also work against you. Although you don’t have to voluntarily hand over dashcam footage after an accident, the police or a court could order you to. Ultimately, this footage could support the other driver’s claim that you are at fault.
So you must always try to be a safe and defensive driver!
On the flip side, if a dashcam ends up clearing you of wrongdoing, it can not only help you recover insurance money, but it can also ensure that your insurance premiums do not go up after an accident.
Given the trends towards driver assistance systems and voluntary adoption of dashboard cameras, we could one day see dashcams being installed in every vehicle by car manufacturers. In the meantime, dashcam companies continue to add features like 360-degree footage, impact detection, and motion detection that can prove to be a driver’s best friend in the event of an accident.
Let The Texas Hammer Review Your Car Accident Case For Free
There are many car accident attorneys in Texas, but there’s only one Texas Hammer. Jim Adler & Associates have helped thousands of injured Texans get the compensation they need to get back on their feet. If you have dashcam footage from your accident, we can discuss how it might impact your claim during your free case review. Call us at 1-800-505-1414 or send us a message.