Requesting Surveillance Footage of Your Accident

Gathering evidence after an incident that resulted in property damage or injury is one of the most critical factors in establishing liability for a personal injury claim. There is a variety of evidence that an experienced attorney will gather when preparing to file a personal injury claim or in preparation for trial, including:

  • Police reports
  • Photos of injuries and property damage
  • Photos of the scene
  • Witness testimony
  • Expert witness testimony
  • Medical invoices
  • Surveillance footage

Surveillance footage can be used as indisputable proof of fault in many cases. Although obtaining surveillance footage from businesses, the government, and even other citizens can be difficult, it may be worth pursuing.

If you were injured in an accident that wasn’t your fault and believe the incident was caught on camera, contact an experienced attorney at Chris Hudson Law Group by calling us at (706) 863-6600 or online for a free and confidential consultation.

How Long Do Security Cameras Keep Footage?

The length of time footage must be kept depends on who owns or has custody of the footage.

Building or departmental footage owned by the government: In Georgia, the government must retain all footage monitoring the activities and traffic of a department or building for 30 days unless there is a reported incident. If there is a reported incident, the footage must be kept until the claim is settled.

Footage from a body cam, dash cam, or drone camera: In Georgia, footage from a police officer’s body camera, dash camera, or obtained while using a drone camera must be retained for 180 days, except in limited circumstances that may be increased. For example, if the footage is part of a criminal investigation, shows a car accident, the detention or arrest of someone, or shows an officer using force, then the footage must be retained for a minimum of 30 months.

Non-governmental-owned footage: No law determines how long a private resident or business is required to keep their security footage. Some cameras store the footage on their internal storage and run on an automatic loop, meaning when the storage runs out, it will start recording over older footage. In contrast, cameras like ring cameras can send their footage for digital storage, and the length of time something is stored depends on whether the resident has a subscription or not.

Because it is impossible to know how long security footage will be stored if you are not getting the footage from a government body, it is important to contact an attorney immediately. Your attorney can begin the process of requesting and preserving the footage as soon as possible.

How to Obtain Security Footage

No one is obligated to give someone their security footage without a court order, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t ask. Sometimes a business or private party will be willing to help if you merely ask them for the footage during the specific timeframe of the incident. However, not everyone will be eager to help.

If your request for the surveillance footage is denied, then you may want to have your attorney or law enforcement send a formal request that may outline why the footage is necessary. The last step for requesting security footage, which is not always necessary, is getting the court to issue a subpoena.

What Is a Subpoena?

A subpoena is a formal document that orders a person to either appear at a specific time and place or to provide the required documentation. A “subpoena duces tecum” is a physical evidence request that courts may issue against someone who has control of the documentation or physical evidence being sought. Once a subpoena is issued, the person from whom the documentation or information is being requested can ask the court to quash the subpoena or limit its scope.

Under Georgia law, a subpoena may be served:

  • Anywhere within Georgia to someone over the age of 18 years old.
  • Through registered or certified mail, with a return receipt constituting prima facie proof of service.
  • To the party’s attorney.

For example, if a business refuses to provide security footage of an incident that caused you to seek compensation, the court may issue a subpoena naming a company director. The subpoena can be served in person to the director or their assistant if they are at least 18 years old.

Contact Us for a Free Consultation

If you were injured because of someone else’s wrongdoing and believe that the incident was caught by a surveillance camera, an experienced attorney can assist in obtaining the critical security footage. The Augusta personal injury attorneys of Chris Hudson Law Group are skillful and experienced and are prepared to pursue all pertinent evidence pertaining to your case.

Call us today at (706) 863-6600 or contact us online for a free consultation.

Last Updated : January 11, 2023