You’ve been injured in a car accident on Long Island. If you’re looking to file a personal injury claim, there are some important steps that you can take to help your case. Below are some helpful information and FAQs about traffic camera footage and how it may or may not be helpful to your auto accident claim.
- How to Get a Police Report
- Instructions to Order Traffic Camera Footage on Long Island
- Can you request street camera footage?
- How do you get traffic light footage?
- How long do cities in Long Island keep traffic camera footage?
- Are intersections recorded on Long Island?
- Do intersection cameras record accidents?
- Can you get intersection camera footage?
- How long do intersection cameras keep footage?
- How do you request a video from intersection cameras?
- Can I obtain security camera footage?
- Do security cameras delete footage?
- How do I get CCTV footage after an accident?
- Do insurance companies get camera footage?
- How can a lawyer help me?
For a free legal consultation, call 516-451-7900
First Steps for Dealing with a Car Accident: How to Get a Police Report
To begin with, you need to ensure that there is a police report filed. The police report is the necessary first step in establishing your case. This report actually acts as evidence that the traffic accident actually happened. Once the police report has been filed, contact the department that handled it and find out how you can obtain a copy of the report.
The police report should be sent to your lawyer to help assist in your legal case. The New York Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) can access your report for a $7 online fee, or $10 by mail. That, however, is merely the search fee. To get the report, you’ll need to pay an additional $15 per report. Bear in mind, you may wind up waiting 30 days.
Simpler still would be to have your lawyer obtain the report from the Department of Motor Vehicles directly. In many cases, your personal injury attorney can obtain these reports much faster.
In addition to ordering a copy of the police report, a step you can take that can go a long way to help your case is to get a copy of the footage from where the accident happened. Evidence of your car accident may have been captured by a red light camera, a surveillance camera installed on a private business or residence, or cell phone video from witnesses near where your accident occurred.
With the help of an experienced Long Island car accident lawyer it’s often possible to request and obtain video from traffic cameras or surveillance cameras recorded by private entities such as businesses and homes.
Instructions to Order Traffic Camera Footage on Long Island
Traffic cameras are designed to take photos or video on streets and highways as you travel down them, but only when the cameras are activated, i.e., when you are actually on the road traveling at high speed or crossing through a posted intersection. They are intended to record the number of vehicles, the speed of each, any crashes that happen within the camera’s coverage area, as well as other traffic information such as accidents that are blocking lanes or lights. Not all of these cameras record; however, and whether they do depends on the intent and which municipal entity put the camera in place.
If you are involved in an accident in an area with a traffic camera, you may be able to get the video for evidence, even if the other driver is not at fault. But to do so, you must either be a licensed law enforcement officer or you will need to contact a lawyer who can help.
Also, recognize that regular traffic and red-light cameras aren’t the only sources of video evidence that can be obtained. Many stores, offices, and other private businesses, as well as homes, are now equipped with CCTV systems. These security and front door cameras are often able to capture car crashes when they occur within their view.
In addition, other often overlooked sources for traffic videos include other drivers’ dash-cams and cell phone videos that eyewitnesses may have recorded. A quick consultation with a qualified attorney can help spell out what types of video would and would not be helpful.
If you’ve suffered an injury in a car crash and would like to get your hands on the footage from the accident, you’ll need to move to secure the footage from the video cameras as soon as possible. Different agencies keep and archive surveillance camera video differently. And a private business is under no obligation to keep this video at all. Many, in fact, record over their CCTV every day.
For that reason alone, it’s often wise to call an attorney immediately to get the necessary legal advice before speaking to an insurance company or pursuing an accident claim on your own. To find out how a lawyer can help, you can get a free consultation by calling the attorneys at Rosenberg & Gluck, L.L.P.
Street and Traffic Cameras
Can you request street camera footage?
When looking to obtain traffic camera video or photos from a camera that’s government-owned and operated, you’re going to have an uphill battle. Unless you work in law enforcement or have the help of a qualified attorney, your chances of easily getting your hands on this footage isn’t good. It never hurts to simply ask for the footage, but you’re most likely going to be refused simply because most departments are not willing to put in the time necessary to locate the particular video.
For the ordinary citizen, the resources to view and locate any traffic camera video are pretty sparse. One source that the state of New York will likely direct you to is the website that they operate at 511ny.org. There, you’re more than likely to be met with a screen filled with choppy images, and frame after frame with the words, “No live camera feed at this time.” On that site, there’s also no simple way to request footage from cameras along the road or highway where your crash may have taken place, and often the response is the applicable camera does not record footage because it only provides real-time access.
New York’s Department of Transportation Traffic Management Center (TCM), is located in Long Island City, Queens, and receives closed-circuit television camera feeds from major intersections and roadways. This data is brought together from a host of public safety agencies in New York. The entire system is managed by a committee called Transcom. This firm receives its funding from a host of local and state transportation departments, as well as the U.S. Department of Transportation.
While Transcom does allow private individuals to access real-time traffic video footage from traffic cameras, there’s no clear way to order past recordings.
With so many departments and agencies, all having a hand in the monitoring and recording of traffic camera video footage on Long Island, tracking down the right department, and then obtaining the footage could be an insurmountable task without the aid of an accident lawyer who can cut through the red tape.
How do you get traffic light footage?
Let’s be honest, red-light cameras are meant for one thing and one thing only: to catch red-light violations for the purpose of issuing tickets. These systems were never designed to act as video watch-dogs.
That having been said, these cameras can be very useful in certain situations. If you are involved in an accident with another vehicle, and the other driver struck you in part because of a violation of the traffic laws (such as in the case of running a red light), these cameras may have recorded the scene of the collision at the time of the crash. This footage may still prove valuable, even if the photos or video don’t capture the exact moment of the collision. Showing the road area immediately before or after your accident may reveal valuable insights such as obstructions or debris in the road or other unsafe driving conditions.
How long do cities in Long Island keep traffic camera footage?
There’s no one answer here. In the cases where the traffic cameras are actually recording, some municipalities on Long Island keep their footage for as little as 24 hours. In most cases, a copy of the video doesn’t last for much more than 72 hours. Contact the local department that runs the cameras in your area to find out what their policy is. Don’t be surprised if you’re given a bit of a run-around when making this request though.
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Are intersections recorded on Long Island?
Often people are surprised to find that cameras located at intersections do not, in most cases, record the traffic. These cameras, in contrast to red light cameras, are only in place to monitor the flow of traffic and adjust the traffic light duration in times of heavy or light traffic, or in cases where the traffic lights in a given intersection are malfunctioning.
In cases where an accident at one of these intersections results in an injury, it would make sense to have your attorney try to obtain traffic camera video from that area, but you may be disappointed. The police will sometimes monitor these intersection cameras, and may even capture some of the footage for public safety reports. But seldom will these cameras yield any real evidence that your attorney can use in a court of law. So in the case of most intersection traffic cameras, there is really nothing to subpoena.
Do intersection cameras record accidents?
A red light camera may snap a photo or two, but this typically only happens when their sensors detect a driver breaking the law by running a red light or making an illegal turn. Otherwise, these cameras lay dormant and will rarely be able to indicate who may be at fault in an accident.
Can you get intersection camera footage?
You can contact whatever city, county, or state agency that manages the camera in question, or you can contact the police when filing a claim. But the simple truth is that these types of traffic cameras seldom record video. Evidence collected at the scene by the police, what’s written up in their report, as well as whatever investigation is done by your lawyer or the insurance companies will have a much greater impact on your case.
This is why it’s important to call a qualified lawyer who can sift through the police reports and the reports from the other party’s lawyer, as well as dealing with your insurance company and the insurance of the other people involved in the accident. To find out more, please contact Rosenberg & Gluck, L.L.P., for a free consultation.
How long do intersection cameras keep footage?
There is no legal requirement to force these cameras to record footage, let alone keep it. As a result, there is not a specific process in place to obtain any footage. In many cases, the best evidence that can be collected to help in your personal injury case will come from other motorists’ dash cams, building security footage, and eyewitness videos recorded on their phones, and not from traffic cameras.
Once again, because this type of evidence is oftentimes fleeting, it’s critical to contact qualified attorneys as soon as possible so that they can put in place the necessary subpoena that will preserve the evidence necessary for your legal claim to be successful.
How do you request a video from intersection cameras?
Requesting video from one of these cameras is not always possible, as most of them do not capture footage. For the most part, these cameras are merely used in real-time monitoring to keep tabs on traffic flow and to adjust traffic signal duration during different times of the day.
Can I obtain security camera footage?
Obtaining surveillance camera footage from a private business near where you were injured in an auto crash can sometimes be trickier than dealing with state, county, and local agencies. A business is under no obligation to archive or volunteer video to you.
In some cases, it may be necessary for your attorney to move fast with a subpoena to preserve the footage of your collision before it’s destroyed. In court cases involving auto accidents, determining who is at fault can often come down to the smallest of details. Armed with an actual video of your crash, your attorney is in a much better place to argue your case.
Do security cameras delete footage?
Every company operates differently, and there doesn’t seem to be any standard when it comes to storing and archiving video footage. Things become no easier when dealing with evidence that’s been recorded by private individuals on their dash cameras, and companies who operate surveillance cameras that record near where your auto accident may have occurred.
Because these recordings aren’t covered by the law, it’s possible for their videos to be deleted or recorded over every night. If you were injured in a car accident outside of a shop that has surveillance cameras, it’s important to call a car accident law firm right away. Your personal injury lawyers can move quickly to try to preserve this evidence which could spell a real difference when it comes time to file your accident claim.
How do I get CCTV footage after an accident?
It may come as no surprise that the convenience store located along your local highway isn’t just sitting there all day giving out free access to their security cameras. The average person approaching businesses with the request to see their CCTV tapes may very well be greeted with suspicion. In a lot of cases, it wouldn’t be surprising to be given the standard party line of, “this would need to be cleared through our corporate offices,” never to hear from them again.
A law firm asking for the footage on their client’s behalf is often all that’s necessary to persuade businesses to turn over the requested material. In many cases, these requests can be handled free of any subpoena needing to be filed. In other cases, your attorney may need to file a more formal request if possible.
Traffic Camera Video and Your Car Accident Case
Do insurance companies get camera footage?
Insurance companies have entire departments staffed by attorneys who are dedicated to getting the best possible outcome for their clients. The good news is that all of the avenues that these attorneys use to obtain camera footage are also available to you and your lawyer.
How can a lawyer help me?
Good lawyers can streamline the process and help open doors after you’ve been in an accident. By moving quickly, your attorney can quickly preserve and acquire valuable evidence that could easily be lost.
Please contact the attorneys and Rosenberg & Gluck, L.L.P. for a free consultation.