Getting a Dash Cam in Massachusetts

With police departments routinely requiring its officers to wear a bodycam and to have it filming in any encounter with a suspect or during a traffic stop, there are cameras available to Massachusetts motorists that can be installed inside their vehicle on their dashboard, behind the rear-view mirror, or even on the side windows so long as it does reflect more than 35% of visible light.  So, what are the advantages of having a dashcam and are there any legal concerns?

Advantages of a Dashcam In a Car Accident

There are many advantages to installing a suitable dashcam in your vehicle.  If the dashcam is focused on your perspective or view from your front windshield, it can capture the movement of traffic directly in front of you or peripherally to some degree, as well as your own conduct in the seconds before an accident. 

In many accidents that occur because another motorist suddenly veered into your lane of traffic and side-swiped you, or violated a red traffic signal as you proceeded on a green light, or where you were rear-ended while at a complete stop, you now have visual evidence that can rebut any allegation that you were at fault in the accident.  It can also undo a staged accident where a motorist at a stop suddenly backs up and alleges that you were the one who rear-ended him.

Dashcam evidence can be shown to an insurance adjuster or presented as evidence at trial so long as your car accident attorney lays a proper foundation for its introduction.  In most cases, clear evidence that the defendant was obviously at fault will lead to an out-of-court settlement or obviate the need to prove liability and leave only the issue of damages. 

Ride Share with A Dashcam Car Accident

For ride-share drivers, a dashcam can offer some protection to them from assaults or robberies. But because Massachusetts requires that a party consent to being filmed, the driver should mention that there is a dashcam in the vehicle or at least post a sign indicating that the rider is being filmed. 

A dashcam can also film sights on a trip so that you do not have to stop or attempt to take a photo while driving. For parents, it can offer evidence of whether their novice driver son or daughter is safely driving or not. 

Disadvantages of a Dashcam

A dashcam can be a distraction if you are at times focusing on the camera and its positioning while driving.  Also, if you do mount one on your outside window, you must be sure it is not obstructing visible light. 

You also must be aware of how the dashcam operates.  Some will run out of tape and must have it replaced, while others will automatically film or loop over previous film once the memory is full.  If you were involved in an accident or were the victim of an assault or robbery in your vehicle, immediately preserve the film and present it to your car accident attorney and/or law enforcement. 

As indicated above, Massachusetts law makes it a crime to film someone without their consent. If you film an accident, it is not a problem since it happened in a public place.  If filming inside your vehicle, you are complying so long as you either advise your passengers that they are on camera or place a sign in a conspicuous location alerting them that filming inside the vehicle is taking place.  If the rider or passenger objects to being filmed, then you must turn off the camera, or ask the rider to leave the vehicle. 

Also, state law bars audio recording of someone without that person’s consent.  Should your dashcam also have audio capability, then you do need the person’s consent to have it on. You are subject to criminal penalties if you record without permission. 

Overall, we have found that a dashcam can be a valuable tool in helping victims of motor vehicle accidents.  If you are not recording inside your vehicle, then no consent is needed. 

Retain the Law Office of Burns and Jain 

If you were involved in an injury accident, having an experienced car accident attorney from Burns and Jain will give you the best opportunity for a satisfactory resolution.  Even if you have dashcam footage that clearly establishes liability, there are many other issues in a car accident claim including that of proving damages or in exploring other avenues of compensation that only a seasoned car accident attorney can handle.  Call today at (617) 227-7423 for a free consultation about your injury claim. 

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