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Obtaining Traffic Camera Footage in Florida: A Step-by-Step Guide

Car Accidents

If you have a claim for a car accident in Florida, video footage of the accident could be the clearest evidence of your right to just compensation. Traffic accidents are increasingly being caught on video—with state and local government agencies, private businesses, and personal cell phones and dash cameras all potentially serving as key sources of evidence for victims and their families.

With that said, obtaining traffic camera footage—or any type of footage—after a car accident is not a straightforward process. There are several steps involved, and the specific steps you need to take depend on the type of footage that is available. With this in mind, this article provides an overview of what accident victims and families in Florida need to know.

Types of Camera Footage That May Be Available

After a car accident in Florida, camera footage may be available from a variety of different sources. For example, some of the types of footage that may be available to prove your legal rights include:

  • FDOT Traffic Camera Footage – The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) operates cameras throughout the state that provide a live feed of traffic on highways and at major intersections. While these live feeds aren’t always recorded, it is worth finding out whether the FDOT has footage of your accident if it happened in front of one of these cameras.
  • Red Light Camera Footage – If your accident was captured by a red light camera, a local police department or government agency could have footage of the collision. Based on where your accident happened, our lawyers can determine which department or agency we need to contact to find out if footage is available.
  • News Agency Traffic Camera Footage – A news agency could also have traffic camera footage of your car accident. If a news agency has footage of your accident, our lawyers can issue a subpoena to obtain the footage so that we can use it in support of your claim.
  • Business Surveillance Camera Footage – Many local businesses have security cameras, and many of these cameras capture footage of the streets in front of (or behind) their buildings. When we investigate your car accident, we will determine if any surveillance camera footage may be available.  
  • Cell Phone or Dash Camera Footage – Along with traffic camera and surveillance camera footage, cell phone or dash camera footage may be available to prove who was at fault in your car accident. During our investigation, we will also seek to identify any drivers, passengers, pedestrians or other eyewitnesses who may have captured your car accident on video.

Steps to Take to Obtain Footage of Your Traffic Accident in Florida

As we mentioned above, the specific steps involved in obtaining camera footage after a traffic accident in Florida depend on the type of footage that is available. With this in mind, the steps in the process generally include:

Step #1: Determine Where Camera Footage May Be Available

The first step in obtaining camera footage of a car accident is determining where footage may be available. Could the FDOT or a local police department or government agency have footage of your traffic accident? Did your accident happen in front of a business with a road-facing security camera? Do you need to contact a news agency or try to obtain footage from an eyewitness? Knowing where to look is the first step toward obtaining the footage you need.

Step #2: Contact the Owner (or Owners) of Any Potential Footage

Once you identify a potential source of camera footage of your traffic accident, the next step is to contact the potential owner. This can usually be done informally—though you may need to follow specific procedures when requesting footage for a government agency. However, to avoid any unnecessary issues or delays, it is best to have your lawyer submit this request on your behalf.

Step #3: Follow Up on Your Request (or Requests)

Oftentimes, it will be necessary to follow up on an initial request for camera footage of a traffic accident. But, persistence can pay off, and you can rely on your lawyer to follow up as necessary on your behalf as well. This is usually the most efficient way to obtain any footage that is available.

Step #4: Issue a Formal Written Request for the Footage (if Necessary)

If footage is available and the government agency, business or individual that owns the footage is unwilling to provide it voluntarily, then you (or your lawyer) may need to issue a formal written request. Subpoenas and other types of formal written requests are legally enforceable; and, once the owner of the footage receives a formal request, it will most likely provide the footage as requested.

Step #5: Seek to Compel Disclosure of the Footage in Court (if Necessary)

If the owner of the footage refuses to comply with a subpoena or other formal written request, then your lawyer can seek to compel disclosure of the footage in court. Hopefully this won’t be necessary; but, if it is, the effort will be well worth it if it means recovering the financial compensation you deserve.

With that said, as an accident victim (or as the family member of an accident victim), your first step is to schedule a free consultation with a local car accident lawyer. You should do this as soon after the accident as possible. Once you hire a lawyer to represent you, your lawyer can take all of the necessary steps not only to obtain any camera footage that is available, but also to collect any other evidence that is available to prove your legal rights.

Contact the Lawyers at Searcy Denney to Learn More

Do you need to know more about proving your legal rights after a serious car accident in Florida? If so, we can help, but it is important that you contact us promptly. To speak with an experienced lawyer at Searcy Denney in confidence as soon as possible, give us a call at 800-780-8607 or request a free consultation online today. 

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