Surveillance cameras are a key consideration in your accident response. Whether it is the driver, the independent adjuster, or an accident reconstructionist, your first people on the scene need to identify any surveillance cameras and trigger immediate action for the preservation of the video.
We live in a video world. The “Youtube Effect” permeates the news. From police actions to store robberies, video documentation has driven the stories of what happened and why.
Video is no less vital in our industry. It is why many companies have moved to install in-cab cameras to document accidents and driver training.
Surveillance cameras become crucial in the absence of in-cab cameras. These provide a potential source of exoneration and support of your driver’s safe actions.
It may be a bit of a long shot, but it cannot be discounted and ignored. Think of it–the USAirlines flight landing on the Hudson River was captured by the surveillance camera of a business on the banks of the river. There is a decent shot in a developed area that your accident will be captured on surveillance video.
I have had several successes in this regard. These included on outdoor security camera of a business and the “drive away” cameras at a gas station.
The gas station video was invaluable. Our driver was proceeding through an intersection with the green light when he was suddenly hit on the rear tandems of his trailer by a police car in pursuit of a fleeing motorist. I had the adjuster scan for surveillance cameras and, upon locating them, lead the investigating police to them to ensure their preservation.
The police officer suffered severe injuries, accumulating more than $1 million in workers’ compensation medical and lost wages in just one year. He filed suit. We then subpoenaed the video from the investigating police and provided them to his attorney. Upon review of the video that exonerated our driver, he dropped his lawsuit.
Many cities have installed intersection cameras. Businesses have security cameras. Highways are monitored by traffic cameras.
In short, there are a number of potential sources of video. You need to act immediately to find it and preserve it.