If the incident that caused an injury is caught on camera, the injured party may have a good case against the person liable if he or she can recover the footage. On the other hand, if a person suffers an injury and sues the negligent party, private surveillance video, post-injury, may be damaging to the injured party's case. This will be especially harmful if the injured party exaggerated his or her injuries. For these reasons, it is useful to know what type of footage, as well as when and how you, as an injured person, may obtain video evidence taken at the time of your injury.
Incident Video vs. Private Surveillance Video in Pennsylvania
There are generally two types of video evidence which can prove useful in winning a personal injury case: (1) incident video and (2) private surveillance video. Incident video is usually produced by store surveillance cameras that are used by the stores for security purposes and is not filmed in anticipation of litigation. If a fall or another personal injury is captured via incident video, the video can prove useful in determining the objective facts of the circumstances surrounding your injuries. Private surveillance video, on the other hand, is filmed in anticipation of litigation for the purpose of the potentially liable party to discredit or mitigate the injured party’s case against him or her. The filming of private surveillance video is intended to show, in essence, that the injured party is not as injured as he or she claims to be because they perform daily life functions.
When And How To Obtain Video Footage Of You Sustaining Injury In Pennsylvania
Because of the way video evidence has been sued against them, most modern businesses in Pennsylvania tend to not turn over incident video footage to injured parties voluntarily. Moreover, the opposing party may have an incentive to prevent you or your witnesses from seeing any private surveillance video they took of you. This is because opposing parties often attempt to use such video footage to impeach the injured party’s and his or her witnesses’ credibility as to the extent of the injuries suffered. So, how do you obtain this video evidence by legal means and when can you receive said footage?
To acquire incident footage from businesses that do not volunteer it to you, the injured party may subpoena them to produce the video. However, before you may have a chance to subpoena the business to produce the video, they may inadvertently destroy the specific incident video of how and when your injury occurred. This is because many businesses use security camera systems that automatically tape over old footage. Consequently, in Pennsylvania, it is always a good idea to petition or motion the trial court to require the business to preserve the at-issue video so that the injured party can actually show it to a judge and/or jury to help prove his or her case and win at trial or on a pretrial motion.
When it comes to acquiring a copy of the private surveillance video the opposing party took, it is not as simple as issuing a subpoena to an entity to produce the desired material. Rather, as a matter of first impression, the Pennsylvania Superior Court declared in 2000 through its Dominick v. Hanson, 753 A.2d 824 (Pa. Super. Ct. 2000), opinion that private surveillance video need only be produced to the injured party upon request after they already testified about the incident during which he or she was injured and/or the extent of his or her injuries.
Contact a Pittsburgh Personal Injury Lawyer to Discuss Your Slip & Fall Case in Pennsylvania
Did you or a loved one sustain serious injuries due to a slip and fall in Pennsylvania? Don’t let the medical bills pile up while you wait for the negligent party, or their insurance company, to do the right thing. Right now, you need an aggressive personal injury attorney on your side, fighting to get you the compensation you need, want, and deserve. The skilled attorneys at Berger & Lagnese, LLC represent clients injured because of slip and falls in Pittsburgh, Butler, Erie, Uniontown, and throughout Pennsylvania. Call 412-275-4122 or email us to schedule a free consultation about your case. We have an office conveniently located at 310 Grant St #720, Pittsburgh, PA 15219.
The articles on this blog are for informative purposes only and are no substitute for legal advice or an attorney-client relationship. If you are seeking legal advice, please contact our law firm directly.