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  • Writer's pictureMatthew Crist


Back in October 2017, I published a blog to attempt to help injured people, and their families, understand what to do after an accident to increase their chances of a favorable result. I field many phone calls from people who have been injured, but don't have lists of their doctors, dates of physical therapy, or other important details. Those recommendations still apply, and it is very important to engage with your doctors, ask them to write reports about your diagnosis, why you have that condition, and what your future medical treatments may be.

Preserving car accident videos.

Today, however, I want to write about the other half of a motor vehicle accident issue: liability.

Police reports are full of at-fault drivers proclaiming they are the victim, and you are at fault. I have seen cases of drivers stopping in the middle of traffic, putting their car into reverse, backing into another car - and then blaming the stopped driver of rear-ending them!

With such malfeasance out there, or, sometimes, honest mistakes, it could be a lifesaver to have a video of the incident.

Video cameras on cars are becoming extremely common - particularly on Teslas. Teslas are recording video, constantly, in four different directions. I have a great deal of experience with Tesla systems and there are some challenges, even for the average Telsa owner.

Even if you don't drive a Tesla, if you are in a collision and there was a Tesla nearby, there are certain steps that driver must take to secure the video - a video that may make the difference between you winning or losing your lawsuit.

  • Honk the horn (if enabled) or press the dash camera icon on the screen. This will save the last 10 minutes of recording.

  • DO NOT remove the USB drive plugged into the car for at least 10 minutes.

  • Keep the car on while the footage is recorded.

With the car in park, the footage secured by the cameras can be viewed in the Dashcam viewing application. While police officers regularly use their own iPhones to record the result of the Tesla Dashcam, the result is an extremely degraded video. If something happens and the original video cannot be exported, certainly, something is better than nothing; but, whenever possible, the original video should be removed from the Tesla by using the USB drive that is located in the glove compartment, depending on the model.

If you are hit by someone driving a Tesla, or there is a Tesla nearby when you are hit, you want to make reasonable efforts to secure that footage - you may ask a police officer who responds to the scene to secure the footage, but this may be a touchy subject. Some people don't want to be involved - which is understandable.

When I am hired by a Plaintiff in a car accident case, one of the first things I do is send a notice to anyone my client knows about who was involved in the collision, or who witnessed it. I send notices instructing them to preserve any dashcam footage that recorded the incident, and I make efforts to secure, copy, and preserve it. This sometimes includes dashcam footage from the responding police vehicles showing the aftermath - but nothing is more valuable than a multi-angled view of the collision itself.

Knowing more about how Tesla, and similar, dashcams work can mean the difference between a prompt and valuable recovery, and an unfortunate result.

If you have been in a car accident and need more information about your next steps, please do not hesitate to call me at 571-551-6859 or you can schedule a phone consultation here.

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