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Can I Obtain Traffic Camera Video of My Car Accident?

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If you get injured in a car accident in New Mexico, the state’s fault-based insurance system requires you to prove that the other driver is at fault for the crash to recover financial compensation from his or her insurance provider. Important evidence to support your claim may be available in traffic camera or surveillance video footage of the collision.

Where Are Traffic Cameras Located?

Traffic cameras, often referred to as red light cameras, are installed at numerous intersections and other locations throughout New Mexico. They are most commonly found in urban and metropolitan areas, such as downtown districts, and along major roads and highways. If you see any traffic cameras that are in a position to have caught your crash on tape, make a note of them. If the police are called to the scene of the crash, make sure they are also aware of the traffic cameras.

Check Nearby Businesses

Cameras are present in almost every public space nowadays, including security cameras attached to local businesses. After a car accident, look around and make a note of any cameras that you see and the names of the businesses they are attached to. Common businesses with security cameras are gas stations, banks, pawn shops and bars. While many businesses position their cameras to focus on their parking lots, they may provide at least a limited view of the road. Write down the names of these businesses.

Look for Residential Cameras

In addition to business surveillance footage, your crash might have been caught by a residential camera. Many homeowners today have security measures such as Ring home security cameras, doorbell cameras and outdoor security cameras. Look at nearby houses to see if any of these cameras are visible. If so, write down the address of the home to obtain the footage with help from law enforcement later.

Don’t Forget Dash Cams

Finally, there may be dashboard camera (dash cam) footage of the accident from someone either directly involved in the accident or who was driving nearby. Many taxi, Lyft and Uber drivers, for instance, have installed cameras that may point outward at the road. In addition, motorcyclists often wear GoPro cameras on their helmets. Ideally, someone with potential footage of the accident would stop at the scene and offer his or her assistance. If you notice someone with a camera, ask if they would be willing to give you a copy of the footage.

How to Obtain Footage of Your Car Accident

When you’re ready to collect copies of tapes that might have caught your accident in real time, go through the correct channels. This can help you avoid resistance from property or business owners. First, cooperate with police at the scene of the crash. Point out any cameras that you have found or noticed to the officer. The police can speak to individuals and business managers to collect copies of the footage for you.

You will need to go through the proper public and private agencies to access traffic camera footage. A formal letter typically must be sent to the county or city office in charge of the traffic cameras. In some cases, a subpoena must be submitted. This is an official request that is filed through the courts. It requires the recipient to hand over any evidence he or she may have related to a case, including video surveillance footage.

A car accident lawyer in Albuquerque can search for traffic cameras and other video evidence of your accident for you, as well as take the necessary steps to obtain this footage in a timely manner. Your lawyer can also issue subpoenas, if necessary, to collect tapes. Reaching out to an attorney right away is important, as many security cameras automatically erase old recordings to make room for new footage.