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How To Obtain Traffic Camera Video of a Car Accident in Washington State

Traffic cameras pointed at a Washington State highway.

Fast action is necessary to preserve video before it is routinely destroyed

After a car accident, you need to make the strongest case possible to collect maximum compensation for your injuries, losses, and pain. Footage of the crash can be the type of hard evidence that proves your case. However, obtaining crash footage is not a straightforward process. No local or state agency is required to maintain video recordings of the roadway indefinitely. In fact, under many circumstances, footage can be destroyed quickly to help administrators more easily maintain records. Therefore, it is critical that you understand how to locate potential sources of surveillance footage, the necessary steps to preserve the evidence, and request copies - or you could have a lawyer help you.

An experienced Washington car accident lawyer knows how to file an effective request to retain the video before it is routinely destroyed. The Scott Law Firm, PLLC, can handle video retention and collection as well as the rest of your car accident claim for you. We have helped hundreds of injured car accident victims in Southwest Washington collect maximum compensation for their injuries. We understand what it takes to win in Vancouver, WA, and throughout Clark County, and we are experienced in locating, preserving, and obtaining crash footage. If you or a loved one was injured in an accident, contact us for a free case consultation to learn more about your legal options and how we can help you get the results you deserve.

Resources for car accident video footage

After a car accident, determining what happened can be greatly helped by car accident footage. Such video may have been picked up by:

  • Municipal or state traffic cameras.
  • Nearby surveillance security cameras.
  • Dashcams.
  • Bystanders.

Interviewing witnesses can determine whether dashcam or bystander footage of the crash exists. And an investigation into the location can identify video surveillance cameras and municipal traffic cameras. If the video is being held by an individual or local business, a simple written or verbal request for a copy of the video may be enough to obtain the footage you need. However, the process is more complicated if a municipal or state government owns the footage.

Obtaining Washington traffic camera footage

Many Washington communities use automated traffic safety cameras - mostly red light cameras and speed cameras. The state has strict rules about their use and where they can be installed. Although there are exceptions, a limited number of cameras may be installed at intersections, railroad crossings, and school speed zones. These cameras only take photos of the vehicle and license during the infraction. Law enforcement cameras may also capture relevant video.

To obtain the footage, it is important to make a request as soon as possible. According to Washington State, here are the retention requirements for law enforcement records that may apply to your car accident:

  • Automatic license plate recognition images - Retained until exhaustion of the appeals process or verification that no significant image has been captured.
  • Automatic traffic safety camera footage - Retained until verification that no infraction has been captured.
  • Body camera footage. Until 90 days after the date of recording or until the matter is resolved and until the exhaustion of the appeals process.
  • Dashcam footage. Until 90 days after the date of recording or until the matter is resolved and until the exhaustion of the appeals process.
  • Custodial interrogation recordings. Until final discharge of offender from custody.

Count on Colin to build you a strong case for maximum compensation

At The Scott Law Firm, PLLC, we prioritize our clients' best interests and strive to obtain the best result possible in every case. If you or a loved one was hurt in a motor vehicle collision, you should get legal counsel from an experienced car accident lawyer as soon as possible. Attorney Colin Scott can go through the specifics of your case, explain your options, and answer any questions you may have. To schedule a free consultation at our Vancouver, WA office, contact us today.

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