Some people may think our society is too caught up in technology, social media, and basically always being “on.” Remember the good old days where you could enjoy a great meal and didn’t feel pressure to post it on social media? Or when you could invite a couple of friends over without getting a call from another friend asking why you didn’t invite her to your house; knowing she can see your friend group’s location on her snap map?
But technology can come in handy, especially in proving liability in negligence cases. Sure, there are traffic cameras all around town that can capture our client’s accidents. Let me tell you about how one of my recent cases was won by the use of today’s technology.
I’m sure you’re familiar with the popular video doorbell systems, such as Ring. Most people purchase them as an insurance policy against Porch Pirates, or to be able to see who is at the door without getting off the couch. But in the case of my young client, a Ring security camera became the independent witness we needed!
Jenny, a darling 8-year old whose family lives in a house that backs up to a neighborhood trail, was out playing in her yard one day. She noticed a middle-aged man walking his dog along the trail and, being a dog lover, walked over to them and asked if she may pet the dog. After being told she could, Jenny reached out, and the seemingly gentle dog lunged at her and sank his teeth into her arm. Jenny ran into her house, the dog owner briefly spoke with her parents, and then Jenny went to the hospital for treatment.
In an effort to recover the cost of the medical bills and compensation for the pain and suffering Jenny endured, Jenny’s parents filed a claim against the dog owner. To my surprise, the insurance adjuster denied the claim, stating that the dog owner gave a statement that Jenny had provoked the dog by pulling on his tail. Knowing “provocation” is the only defense to a dog bite case, and knowing we had a “he-said, she-said” situation, we had to dig further. Sure enough, Jenny’s parents had a Ring security system in the back of their house and had saved the recording. I emailed the video to the insurance adjuster, and within days, the case was settled. If we didn’t have this recording, who would a jury believe? An 8-year-old child, or a middle-aged professional?
Not all doorbell cameras are going to provide information like this, but I must admit it felt good to have “the smoking gun.” Take a look around your neighborhood. Don’t dismiss a neighbor’s camera as being invasive; it may just be there to protect you one day.