If you’ve ever been involved in litigation, you know that it’s a stressful and costly endeavor. Legal fees, settlements and defending drivers against false claims can send costs spiraling out of control.
In the first of our three-part series: Making a Case for Video, we’ll explore how a video-based safety solution can be used to help reduce costs, exonerate drivers and, in some cases, avoid litigation altogether.
“The vast majority of the costs expended in litigation are in discovery,” said Andrew Stephenson, defense attorney for the law firm Franklin & Prokopik APC who has handled cases that reference Lytx® DriveCam clips for nearly six years. “[In cases without video] you need to find witnesses and discovery related to who is going to say what about the collision. If you have a video clip of the collision, you can eliminate all of those costs.”
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported in a revised 2010 study, that the economic cost of motor vehicle crashes totaled $242 billion. This figure included medical costs, lost productivity, property damage and legal and court costs. Of this total, $12 billion could be attributed to legal and court costs.
Video can be one of the most valuable tools fleet operators have to protect against false claims and costly settlements. Stephenson said that in many cases he’s represented, the plaintiff’s attorney walks away or dismisses the case once presented with video of the incident. That’s because video provides a comprehensive picture of what actually happened, not just the plaintiff’s version of what happened.
Stephenson added that, even if your driver is at fault, you're still better off knowing the details sooner rather than later. “If you know early on that your driver was at fault, you can direct your resolution strategy based on that information. You may be able to avoid litigation altogether and just resolve the case directly.”
Stephenson has also seen cases where video evidence was used to reduce personal injury claims. “Even if your driver was at fault, video can demonstrate that the damages were a non-event. You may see that the individual suing for personal injuries could not have been injured as a result of that incident. In that case, video is equally as valuable as if it showed that you weren't at fault.”
Click on this link to watch the complete interview with Andrew Stephenson.