Can You Legally Use Your Own Dash Cam in South Carolina?

Many motor vehicle drivers, including semi-trucks, motorcycles, and cars, have dash cams to record events that occur while they are on the road. These mounted video cameras can provide valuable information if a car accident occurs. However, you may wonder if they are legal to use in South Carolina? The answer is yes. Read below to learn more.

South Carolina Laws About Video Recording

According to South Carolina laws, only one party must consent to a video recording. In fact, it is a criminal offense to use any device to record people without the consent of at least one person who is involved. However, as long as the owner or driver of the vehicle where the dash cam is mounted knows about and consents to its presence, then the recording is legal.

There are exceptions to these video recording laws, such as in places where a person has a reasonable expectation of privacy. That would include a restroom or bedroom. However, since a dash cam records incidents that occur in public, they are not prohibited.

Benefits of Using a Dash Cam

A dash cam can contribute to the investigation process after a car accident. It provides a detailed account of exactly what happened. It records all factors and parties that may have been involved.

Some of the beneficial information a dash cam can collect include:

  • License plate numbers, especially in hit and run situations
  • Weather conditions at the time of the accident
  • The status of traffic lights when the accident occurred
  • The position of all vehicles during the accident
  • Speed of vehicles involved in the accident
  • Any third parties who may have contributed to the incident
  • Statements that are made after the accident (if the dash cam records sound)

Dash cams are primarily used to prove someone acted negligently and should be held liable for the damages they caused.

Potentially Negative Aspects of Having a Dash Cam

There is no guarantee that you will always been the non-liable party in a crash. If you do make a mistake, your dash cam is basically evidence of your negligence. Its footage can and will be requested by the other party and used against you.

In fact, dash cam footage can even be used to prove you shared some negligence in the crash. If the other party clearly caused the accident, dash cam footage may show that you were going slightly over the speed limit or failed to take last minute action to avoid the crash. Your minor mistakes will be used against you. This compares to a crash where dash cam footage was not available and the liable party had no evidence of your partial fault.

South Carolina is a modified comparative negligence state, which means that as long as you were less than 51% responsible for an accident, you are still eligible for compensation from the other party. However, your financial recovery will be reduced by the percentage of fault that you share. For example, if you were 10% at fault for the car accident and your damages totaled $100,000, then you would only be able to recover $90,000. Your dash cam may be used to positively point out your percentage of fault, where the other party may not have any such evidence otherwise.

Insurance Company Use of Dash Cams

Some insurance companies offer a discount to customers who use dash cams in their vehicles. The insurance company can use the dash cam footage to reduce investigation efforts in the event of an accident.

Insurance companies also know that many people who have dash cams, especially younger teen drivers, are more careful when they know they are being recorded and monitored. The insurance company may encourage you to utilize a dash cam to promote safe driving practices.

However, before you submit any dash cam footage to an insurance company, you should consult with a car accident lawyer. The insurance company may attempt to use the information to avoid paying for your claim. Your attorney can review the data on the dash cam and help you understand your rights.

Ryan Montgomery Law Has Answers for You

Ryan Montgomery Law has helped countless clients after car accidents in and around Greenville, South Carolina.

If you are considering a dash cam or were involved in a crash and dash cam footage is available, Ryan Montgomery Law can evaluate your specific situation and answer your questions. Call us today at (864) 207-4927 for help.