For your personal injury claim to be successful, you must be able to prove that you were injured by somebody else’s negligence. This proof could be by way of photographs of the accident scene and your injuries, medical records, witness statements, and CCTV footage.
While you could get photographs, medical records and witness statements on your own, you will have to request CCTV footage from a third party. This is not always a simple endeavour. There are several legalities governing the use of CCTV cameras and how the footage may be shared.
Here’s what you need to know about how to request CCTV footage for a personal injury claim.
Why CCTV Footage Can Be Important For Personal Injury Claims
You may be able to get photographs of the accident scene immediately after the incident. If you’re too injured to get the photographs yourself, you could request somebody else to do so.
You can also ask for all your medical records from the clinic or hospital where you received treatment for your injuries.
However, one thing that’s not guaranteed is being able to get eyewitness statements to support your claim. Maybe the accident occurred in a remote area, or late at night on a lonely road with no witnesses around. Or maybe multiple people did witness the accident but have contradictory statements about what happened. This could jeopardise your personal injury claim.
CCTV footage that has captured the accident can provide irrefutable proof about the turn of events and how things unfolded. It’s all there on record. Nobody can easily deny it and nobody can easily contradict it either. Think of CCTV footage as the trump card in your personal injury claim.
Fortunately, there are CCTV cameras almost everywhere these days, from road junctions to shop fronts and residential complexes. In case of an accident, all you need to do is find out if any CCTV cameras captured the accident and then obtain a copy of the footage.
CCTV footage can make the difference of winning or losing a claim and every step should be taken to obtain that at the earliest opportunity, where possible.
CCTV footage is often very useful in cases where there’s no other evidence, essentially when it’s one persons word against another. CCTV footage could be the ultimate deciding factor whether a personal injury claim is successful or not.
Who Can Request CCTV Footage?
According to the Data Protection Act 1998, any individual has the right to access information that is held about them by another party. In the case of a car accident for example, under this Act you have a right to access any CCTV accident footage showing you or your vehicle.
If other people are also visible in the CCTV footage, their faces may be blurred out in order to protect their privacy.
Who Do You Request CCTV Footage From?
Who you request CCTV footage from depends on where the accident occurred and which CCTVs recorded the incident. Generally, you would need to request the owner of the CCTV system for footage.
If there are shops or stores around with CCTV cameras, you will have to request the shop owner or manager for footage. If street cameras captured the footage, you will have to make a request to your local council for footage.
Many CCTV cameras have a sign attached to them with the owner’s details and contact number written on it.
CCTV owners are legally required to provide you the footage free of charge within 30 calendar days of making the data access request. It’s a good idea to emphasise that you’re requesting information held about you under data protection law. You can get more information and guidance on getting copies of your personal data from The Information Commissioner’s Office.
It’s important to remember that CCTV footage is not retained permanently. In keeping with police recommendations, most owners keep the footage for only about 30 days at a time. If you need to request traffic camera footage for a car accident claim, for example, don’t wait too long. You should act immediately and put in the request in case you hit any type of roadblock in gaining access to the footage, so you have time to get it resolved.
How To Obtain CCTV Footage From A Shop/Store Owner
When requesting a shop or store owner for CCTV footage:
- Identify who owns the camera/s
- Send a written ‘Subject Access Request’ to the camera owner, requesting the footage you are looking for. Make sure to provide the date and time the accident occurred and a description of the accident. This will help the store owner find the relevant footage immediately instead of having to look through 30 days’ of recordings.
- You will need to prove that you are seeking footage of yourself. For this you will need to provide some identification such as a copy of your ID or passport.
How To Get CCTV Footage From The Council
Councils require that requests for CCTV footage come from the victim’s lawyer or insurance company. This is a precautionary step to prevent the CCTV footage from being used for unlawful purposes.
The request to the council for data access must provide details of the following:
- Your name and ID
- Your solicitor’s or insurance company’s name and contact details
- Date, place, and time of the incident
- Details of the incident
- Registration number, make, model, and colour of any vehicles involved in the accident
Why Use A Personal Injury Solicitor To Request CCTV Footage?
There are several reasons why using a personal injury solicitor is, in our opinion, the best way to go about obtaining CCTV footage for a personal injury claim:
If you need to request CCTV footage from your local council, a solicitor can do this for you.
Although you can request shop owners for data access by yourself, you may run into some problems. A personal injury solicitor can send a legal request and resolve any and all problems that come up.
If you use a solicitor right at the outset, they will take care of everything for you from the get-go. Moreover, they will expedite matters and make sure that all procedures stay within the law so that your claim can proceed smoothly.
Last but certainly not least, in most cases solicitors will waive any upfront fees and fund the claim on a No Win No Fee basis. This means you benefit from the solicitor’s legal expertise and experience without taking any financial risk yourself.
If you believe you have a personal injury claim and need to request CCTV footage to use as evidence please call us on 0800 6524 881 for expert, free advice.