German judge allows dashcam images for obtaining compensation

May

15

2018

German Bundesgerichtshof ruled in appeal that images recorded with a dashcam may be used as evidence in civil cases where a road user tries to recover his damage after a collision.

The German court reiterates the current view that submitted video recordings from a dash cam are in principle inadmissible because it violates the strict German right to privacy protection. However, this ban on using dashcam images does not automatically apply in liability cases .

The court finds that the interest for the claimant to be able to come up with evidence also weighs heavily and that judges in the weighing of interests between the privacy and the possibility of the victim to stand up for his rights may to judge according to the circumstances of the case.

This means there is no categorical prohibition on the use of dashcam images in civil cases. For criminal cases, where the images can for example be passed on to the police, so that it can be determined who is responsible for, for example, a crime, the ban still applies. In that context, a motorist was fined by a German judge in October 2017, because she had included quite a lot of the surroundings with dashcam images.

The current case involved two vehicles colliding with the sides, while they were driving to the left at two parallel exits. There was disagreement about who had left his job and was responsible for the collision. The claimant had a dashcam and claimed compensation. This requirement was rejected in view of the privacy rules. The plaintiff appealed and came to the Bundesgerichtshof, which has now referred the case back to the lower court.

The Bundesgerichtshof does not approve all dashcam images for use in civil cases. For example, it may not be a permanent, continuous registration of all events on and along the traffic route. According to the court, this is disproportionate and not necessary for the importance of obtaining evidence. According to the court, it is technically possible to set the dashcam in such a way that a shorter shot is taken and that it is only stored in the event of a collision or if the car brakes hard.

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