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How Long is Security Footage Held to Help in Personal Injury Cases?

If you were injured in an accident and security cameras were at the scene, the footage could provide crucial evidence for your personal injury claim. However, many wonder how long the videos will be preserved and available as evidence.

The timeframe for retaining security footage varies based on several factors. At Personal Injury Legal Group, our Los Angeles attorneys will explain some critical considerations around video retention policies to help you understand how long you may have to obtain that important recorded evidence.

Retention Periods for Security Video

Typical Retention Periods for Security Video

Most businesses and property owners follow fairly standard video retention schedules for routine security purposes. Common time frames include:

  • 30 days
  • 60 days
  • 90 days

Larger companies, sensitive locations like banks, or properties with a history of frequent incidents may retain footage for up to six months or a year in some cases. But for the majority of businesses, 30 to 90 days is a pretty standard video storage window before the oldest footage gets deleted to make room for new recordings.

Why Security Footage Matters in Personal Injury Cases

Security cameras are ubiquitous today, capturing footage in stores, parking lots, workplaces, and public spaces. This footage can be a goldmine of evidence in personal injury cases, providing a visual record of the events leading up to your injury.

Here are some ways security footage can strengthen your case:

  • Establishing liability:The footage can demonstrate how the accident happened, clearly showing who or what caused the hazardous condition that led to your injury.
  • Documenting injuries:In some cases, the footage might capture the immediate aftermath of the accident, showcasing the severity of your injuries.
  • Disputing claims:If the at-fault party denies your version of events, the footage can act as an objective record, corroborating your testimony.

Factors Affecting Security Footage Retention

While security footage can be a powerful tool, its availability hinges on several factors:

  • Storage capacity:Security systems have a finite storage capacity. Many cameras operate on a loop, constantly writing over the oldest footage when storage fills up. The retention period depends on the system’s storage capabilities, ranging from a few days to several weeks.
  • Business policies:Businesses have individual policies regarding footage retention. Some prioritize security and keep recordings longer, while others might prioritize storage space and have shorter retention periods.
  • Local laws:There are currently no federal laws in the United States mandating a minimum-security footage retention period for businesses. However, some states have specific laws for certain industries, like casinos or healthcare facilities.
  • Police involvement:If the incident resulted in a police report, the footage might be flagged for preservation to assist with the investigation.
  • Insurance claims:If an insurance claim related to the incident is filed, the footage might be retained as part of the claim process.

Making a Record Request

To ensure the security video remains available as evidence, your Los Angeles personal injury attorney will send the property owner or security company a formal “preservation of evidence” letter very soon after learning of the incident. This legally compels them to retain all relevant recordings until the claim is resolved.

If you wait too long to make this record request, the desired footage could be inadvertently recorded over and lost forever based on routine video recycling policies. That is why it is critical to consult a lawyer promptly after any accident where security cameras may have captured what happened.

What If the Footage Is Unavailable?

Even if the security footage no longer exists by the time you discover its potential relevance, don’t assume your case is lost. An experienced injury lawyer knows how to overcome this lack of evidence through other available means, such as:

  • Obtaining sworn testimony from any eyewitnesses
  • Using receipts, appointment records, etc., to substantiate where you were
  • Illustrating unsafe conditions that caused the accident through photos/diagrams
  • Citing past inspection reports or other documentation of hazards

The absence of a “smoking gun” video doesn’t necessarily doom your claim. However, having access to that objective record of events can certainly strengthen your case significantly if captured at the right angle.

We Can Help You Secure the Footage

At the Personal Injury Legal Group, we move quickly to obtain and secure all relevant records and evidence – including surveillance video. Our skilled attorneys ensure no stone goes unturned in building the strongest possible case evidence for your full and fair compensation.

To learn more about how we can help after any accident with injuries, contact us today for a free, no-obligation case evaluation. Time is of the essence when it comes to securing security camera footage, so don’t wait to take action.

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