There are benefits of obtaining CCTV footage following an accident for the injured party as it can often greatly assist with establishing liability.
In the UK, it is common knowledge that there is one CCTV camera for every 11 people! This point is widely debated as to whether this level of interference into our personal privacy has encroached to a point that breaches our human rights.
Here is a guide to getting access to the vital images that show the accident:
1. The basic principle is that any footage you are visible on, you are legally entitled to. The owner of the camera has a period of up to 40 days where they are required to hold the videos, thereafter, if they have not yet received a request for the images they are entitled to destroy the information. It is essential to investigate who owns the camera, for example the Highways Agency if the accident took place on a main road.
2. Any request for CCTV should be made in writing with vital details made clear to the owner. For example, the date of the accident, the time of the accident, the vehicles involved, the direction of travel and the exact location of the accident. Included in your cover letter, ensure that you state that the request is being made under Data Protection Act 1998.
3. Unfortunately, any request for CCTV will often have to be followed-up. This should be made within the above time frame as you do not want to risk the footage being destroyed before the request is reviewed.
4. Legally, the owner of the CCTV camera is entitled to charge up to £10.00 for copies of the disks. This may seem unfair, however it could be worth it in the long-run.
It should be noted that the owner of the CCTV footage can refuse to disclose the images if it will put at risk an active criminal investigation. It will be for the police to determine whether this footage can be disclosed or not. Also often the footage is not very clear and the footage may not be able to assist in establishing who is at fault.
Once the footage has been obtained and has been reviewed for the purposes of establishing liability, it will be disclosed to the Third Party Representatives (whether it be their Solicitor or their Insurance Company). Any road traffic accident claim is subject to the strict Civil Procedure Rules which actively promote early disclosure of documentation. This ensures that either Party does not hold essential information back from each other. Once a claim has entered the Court process, both Parties are under a duty to not destroy any evidence, this includes CCTV.
The Specter Partnership