Legal Insights / Personal Injury / Do I Really Need A Dash Cam In My Car?

Do I Really Need A Dash Cam In My Car?

Feb 19 2019
dash cam in car

Most of us are familiar with dash cams – small, black camera units mounted unobtrusively on the windshields or dashboards of vehicles. These high-tech pieces of equipment record external activities outside a car, truck or SUV when it is in operation and, in certain models, when it is parked. Costs will vary, with very basic models starting at $50.

With the use of dash cams on the rise, you may have been thinking about getting one yourself – especially if you do a lot of commuting, drive in heavily-congested traffic areas or if you simply would like to be more proactive about protecting your car and your insurance rates. It is true that having access to digital footage might prove useful for an insurance claim but bear in mind that same footage could also work against you. Dash cams have the potential to be used as powerful evidence in an accident or injury claim but they can also show bad driving habits and possible liability.

The Pros

In the case of an accident involving two or more vehicles, dash cam footage can be beneficial as it can help eliminate “he said, she said” accounts of the incident. The footage can also show accident details that you or other witnesses may not remember due to injury, reduced capacity or lengthy periods of time between when the accident occurred and when the claim was processed.

Having access to footage can make the processing of accident claims more efficient for insurance companies since they do not have to rely solely on witness testimony nor would they need to expend additional resources to verify specifics of a claim. Dash cams can also be useful in helping draw attention to potential – and costly – insurance scams.

In addition, a dash cam can help deter vandals and catch hit-and-run drivers. In a hit-and-run incident, video can capture the other driver, his or her vehicle colour, make and model and, in some cases, even the license plate number. Submitting footage to both the police and your insurance provider can quickly corroborate a hit-and-run claim while also helping to keep your individual auto insurance rates from taking an unexpected hit.

The Cons

Just as a dash cam can protect you in an accident that is not your fault, it can also show when you may be responsible. It can show poor driving behavior, only give one perspective and will not provide a full 360-degree view of activity around your car – usually, it will only show what is happening in front of it.

Dash cams are typically viewed as electronic equipment – similar to a cell phone – which means they would be off limits when the vehicle is in operation. If you are caught by police adjusting dash cam equipment, they would likely consider this distracted driving and you could be ticketed accordingly.

ICBC and Dash Cams

ICBC has not officially approved the use of dash cams in cars although they note it is not illegal to have one. While they are seeing more digital evidence come in as part of their claims process, they do not believe dash cams improve driving performance and they feel they are a serious distraction for some drivers. No discounts are currently available on your auto insurance if you have a dash cam in your car.

If you have been in an accident and have an injury claim pending, contact RDM Lawyers today. If you have access to dash cam footage of the incident, be sure to bring the footage with you.

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