Video Surveillance: All Around Us

Almost everywhere we go in our daily lives, a camera somewhere is capturing our image. Most stores have video surveillance cameras (initially installed for theft prevention purposes), stoplights have cameras for red light runners, and even residences often have surveillance cameras for security purposes. In handling cases that end up in litigation, inquiring about, locating and reviewing such video evidence can be crucial in proving or disproving essential facts in a case.

A current premises liability case being handled by Janssen Malloy LLP illustrates the point. Our client was injured in a trip and fall accident at a local business caused by a ramp which lacked proper hand rails and foot guards, and had a dangerously steep slope, all in violation of the California Building Code.

It turns out the store had a video surveillance system, and the actual event was captured by that surveillance system. Not only does the surveillance video confirm that the event happened at the business and at the place and time alleged by out client, it clearly illustrates the safety problems and establishes liability. The insurance carrier for the defendant business refused to disclose this evidence, which was finally revealed in response to our Request for Production of Documents, a standard discovery request used in such situations.

Incidents that occur in stores or businesses are often captured on video surveillance equipment, and it is always important to inquire about and obtain such evidence in evaluating the strength or weakness of a particular case. Businesses often record over or delete such evidence shortly after its filming, so it is critical to make preservation and production requests for such evidence early in the case.

Janssen Malloy LLP has extensive experience in handling premises liability (slip and/or trip and fall cases), and stands ready to assist if you or a family member are injured due to the unsafe or dangerous condition of a business that invited you to come in and spend your consumer dollars.