How To Get Video Footage Of Your Nashville Car Accident

January 03 2024 | Nashville Car Accident Lawyer Blog
  • How to get video footage after a car accident in Nashville, TN

    If you’ve been injured in a crash in Nashville, video footage such as traffic cameras, speed cameras, surveillance cameras, red light cameras, private security cameras, or other footage, including dashboard cameras, may exist to support your personal injury claim and help establish who was at fault in the accident. There may be footage you can obtain on your own, and other footage that may require an experienced Nashville car accident lawyer to obtain on your behalf.

    If you need help getting video footage of your car accident to prove fault, call us today at 800-800-4600.


    Identify the potential sources of video footage

    The first step to obtain traffic camera video footage is to identify the potential sources. In a car accident case, there may be multiple sources that captured the crash from multiple angles, or captured the scene following the collision. Identifying each source can provide you with a good place to start.

    Potential sources may include:

    While you are at the scene of where the accident occurred, note any cameras that you see. You can also ask the responding officer if they are aware of any cameras in the area that may have line of site to where the collision occurred.


    Nashville Police surveillance camera footage

    The Nashville police use 63 cameras mounted along streets to help solve crimes and monitor events, including car accident events. Police can also review 52 cameras on Metropolitan Development and Housing Agency properties.

    All but 19 cameras send live video to computers that can be monitored or easily reviewed during investigations. The 19 that don’t stream are older “legacy” cameras.


    How to obtain police surveillance camera footage in Nashville

    Traffic camera footage or any other footage controlled by the city or state of Tennessee can be extremely difficult to obtain and often requires a subpoena or a request through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request. A Nashville personal injury lawyer can help make the FOIA request, issue a subpoena on your behalf to obtain the footage, and can help ensure that traffic footage or any other surveillance footage is retained and not deleted by issuing a spoliation letter to those who own and maintain the evidence. The same holds true for car accident footage or traffic camera footage obtained by the Tennessee Highway Patrol or Tennessee Department of Transportation that may show how the accident occurred.


    Private business camera footage

    Nearby businesses may also have their own security cameras that may have captured footage of your car accident and the other vehicle. Typically, there are two types of systems that business may have.

    The first is closed circuit TV (CCTV), which captures the footage and sends it to a monitor or recorder within the business. This footage can often be deleted nightly, or every 30 days, depending on the storage space available (it’s up to the business).

    The second form of video footage can be captured on more sophisticated video surveillance, where the images and audio data are sent to the cloud or to a central server. Because the cloud and central servers offer more storage than CCTV systems, this footage is often retained for longer periods of time, however, the amount of time is still up to the business and can be deleted at any time unless they receive a court order to retain it.


    How to obtain private business video footage

    Video cameras and their footage are owned by the private business and can be released if the business agrees or if ordered by the court.

    The first step you can take to request video footage from the business is simply to ask. You can call the business, determine if the footage exists, let them know why you are seeking the footage, and ask if they are able to release it to you. Alternatively, you can ask the investigating officer who filed the Nashville police report to ask the business on your behalf. Many times, a business will be more willing to release evidence to law enforcement.

    In other cases, the camera footage may only be available through corporate, especially if it is retained in the cloud or central server, versus CCTV.

    If the car accident video footage is in the hands of a corporate entity, it can be very challenging to get on your own. They may often choose not to release it to you, or may claim that it doesn’t exist. Even if you are told that footage doesn’t exist, it is common for the person on the other line to not actually know for certain. An experienced car accident attorney can determine for certain if the car accident footage exists, how to best secure it, and ensure it is retained through a formal request. Personal injury lawyers are well versed in how to properly retain evidence and should be contacted immediately after a crash.


    Police dash cam footage of the crash

    In-Car cameras are fixed to the interior of the police vehicle, therefore only capturing video from the front and interior of the vehicle. Although dash cams may not capture how the car accident occurred, they can provide vital evidence of the scene and circumstances surrounding the scene that may have contributed to the crash, such as the condition of the vehicles and how they are resting, red lights in the area, and other evidence such as driving conditions.


    How long is police dash cam footage stored?

    According to the Nashville Metro Nashville Police Department, in-car camera footage may be retained from a few months to several years, depending on the severity of the incident. For a car accident, the footage may not be held for long.


    How to obtain police dash cam footage

    To make a request, download the Public Records Policy and Request Form from the Nashville Central Records Division. You will need to provide the date, time and the officer’s name and car number, along with other relevant information regarding the car accident. It’s important to note that the Records Custodian may deny this request, or may redact or limit what is available to you. An experienced car accident lawyer can often navigate these channels in different ways if you are unsuccessful, or if the information provided to you is limited. Given that there is no specified time period for how long the department must retain the video, it is best to have an experienced car accident lawyer handle this from the start.


    Body camera footage of the responding officer

    Similar to Nashville Metro Police Department dash cams, body footage of the responding officer may also uncover valuable evidence from the car accident scene, or statements from the at-fault party or witnesses. Body cameras follow slightly different rules under the law, though many are consistent with dash cam footage.


    How long is body cam footage stored?

    The Nashville Metro Nashville Police Department keeps body camera videos for different lengths of time, based on how serious the car accident is. It could range from months to years.


    How to obtain police body cam footage

    It is important to ensure that body cam footage that captured evidence around a car accident or statements made at the scene is not destroyed. You may file a request on your own by submitting a request form to the Records Division, however obtaining footage from government agencies or local governments may be difficult, and some may not be available to the general public. An experienced Nashville personal injury lawyer can issue a formal request to obtain the footage on your behalf while working through the proper channels to secure it.


    Witness cell phone video or photographs

    As part of documenting the car accident scene, obtaining witness information can help support your claim in a personal injury case and to your insurance company. There may be instances where a car crash is caught on video, which can be extremely helpful, or other cases where post-accident footage can help support your claim. Witness statements also play an important role in proving that the other driver was the negligent driver in the car accident.


    How to obtain witness cell phone video or photos after a crash

    Typically, someone who witnessed your car accident will be willing to provide you with the evidence in their possession if you ask. If they refuse to provide you with video footage or photographs, and it has been established that they are in possession of evidence, a car accident attorney can help by issuing a spoliation letter, reminding the witness of their duty, should one exist, to use reasonable care to preserve the evidence in their possession and not destroy it. Witnesses can also be subpoenaed by a Nashville personal injury lawyer if necessary, however, in most cases, witnesses will assist your claim without being compelled to do so.

    Following a car accident, an injury lawyer can contact witnesses to obtain evidence on your behalf and conduct formal interviews to get their statements on the record. Eyewitness statements and video can often be strong pieces of evidence when they are collected properly by an experienced attorney.


    Footage from local news stations

    Local news outlets may come to the scene to report on a serious car accident. Even though they didn’t capture video of the actual accident, this footage can help assist by demonstrating other things that may have contributed to the crash, such as road conditions, skid marks, or other information, including how the cars are positioned and how emergency personnel responded to the scene. They may also interview witnesses at the scene whose statements may help your claim.


    How to obtain footage from local news stations after a car accident

    Local news stations will typically only release footage to an attorney. Let an experienced Nashville personal injury lawyer obtain this evidence on your behalf if it’s needed to support your claim.


    An experienced Tennessee car accident lawyer can help

    When there is a question of fault in any car accident, or if you’ve been injured due to a hit-and-run, an experienced lawyer can help obtain and secure traffic camera video and other evidence that may support your claim. Call us today for a free consultation. Our legal team is available 24/7.

    Call us now at 800-800-4600.

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