If you have been involved in a car accident, securing traffic camera footage or police reports can be a pivotal step in building your case. In Massachusetts, the process of gathering this evidence is subject to specific procedures and local regulations. It’s recommended to enlist the help of an experienced attorney, as they have the resources to obtain these documents and file requests for public records.
However, it’s important to note that it’s uncommon for traffic cameras to capture footage of car accidents, or for such footage to be preserved for the benefit of victims. Hiring a professional significantly enhances your chances of obtaining this evidence. While every individual has the right to access public government records, not all records are public. Be prepared that there may be a fee associated with acquiring this information.
Traffic Camera Footage
Typically, traffic cameras such as red-light or speed cameras are the ones likely to capture footage of your car or motorcycle accident. Additionally, if an accident occurs near a construction site, other cameras might have recorded the incident. If you find yourself in need of such camera footage to fight your case following a car accident, it is crucial to reach out to an experienced attorney immediately.
Understand that the municipalities and departments tasked with storing this footage often do not retain it for extended periods if they store it at all. Your lawyer can swiftly take action, communicating with the relevant agencies to secure the necessary evidence.
Identify the Relevant Camera
Identify the precise location of the camera that may have recorded the footage you require. Next, analyze the area to discover potential sources of footage. These could include traffic cameras, surveillance systems from adjacent buildings or businesses, red light cameras, security cameras, and more.
You will then reach out to the law enforcement agency that prepared your police report. They might possess camera footage from the accident scene or be knowledgeable about any nearby surveillance cameras that could have recorded the incident. Be sure to provide them with comprehensive details about the accident, including the date, time, and location.
To collect a police report, begin by determining which police department was involved. If the accident took place on a highway, the Massachusetts State Police might have been the responding agency. You’ll need to contact the records department of the police agency that responded to the accident and request a copy of the report.
Depending on the department’s procedures, you may be able to do this in person, over the phone, or online. When submitting your request, be prepared to provide essential details about the accident, like the date, time, and location of the incident, as well as the names of all individuals involved. Generally, there is a fee for obtaining a copy of a police report, with the exact amount varying between departments.
After submitting your request and paying the required fee, the department will begin processing your request. Please note that receiving the report may take some time, particularly if the accident is still under investigation.
Contact the Relevant Authority
Consider contacting the police department that was involved in the incident. Under Massachusetts Public Records Law, you are granted the right to access police reports. To procure these reports, it is necessary to forward a request to the Records Access Officer associated with the relevant police department. Make sure to provide all essential information, including the incident’s date, time, location, and the names of the individuals involved.
The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) is in charge of managing highway traffic cameras. If you wish to obtain any footage, your point of contact should be either them or the respective city or county office that manages the traffic camera. It is advisable to have an experienced attorney coordinate this communication, which will help secure the most pertinent evidence for your case.
Submit a Public Records Request
Under the Massachusetts Public Records Law, you have the right to access police reports. To do so, you are required to send a written request to the Records Access Officer of the respective police department. Understand that you have access to public records, but not all records are public and may cost a fee to obtain.
When you are requesting specific footage, be precise about its location. Make sure your descriptions of the records sought are clear and reasonable. Also, state your preferred format, if any, for receiving public records in electronic form.
Pay Any Required Fee
Should your request be approved, you might be required to pay a fee. This fee covers the expenses related to retrieving and duplicating the requested footage. Bear in mind that traffic camera footage isn’t typically stored for extended periods, so it’s vital to make your request promptly following the event.
Obtaining a police report often involves a fee to cover retrieval and copying costs. Remember that each case is unique, and the procedures can differ depending on the specific circumstances. For detailed legal advice tailored to your situation, consultation with a legal professional is recommended. Moreover, the acquisition of such records can involve privacy concerns, therefore, not all requests might be approved.
Contact Jeffrey Glassman Injury Lawyers
If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident, you don’t have to face this challenging time alone. At Jeffrey Glassman Injury Lawyers, we are dedicated to fighting for the rights of car accident victims and ensuring they receive the compensation they deserve. Don’t wait. Every minute matters in these cases. Call us at (617) 777-7777 or fill out our online form to get started. Let us help you take the first step toward justice.