A client came in recently and reminded me of a powerful tool in personal injury cases in Washington DC. He was involved in a vehicle accident in Washington DC. The claim was that he had run a red light and struck a car turning left past the intersection. He was confident that he had the green light but it was only his testimony. An independent witness who knew neither the driver nor the bicyclist also testified that he ran the red light. The car driver naturally stated that he had run the red light. The police officer gave my client a ticket for running a red light.
Washington DC has many security cameras throughout the city. This particular intersection had such a security camera. The information is not kept indefinitely, in fact the recorded information is only for a few days and then recycled. My client did a freedom of information act through the early Metropolitan Police Department and was able to get the footage of the accident.
The camera was mounted at the intersection. The camera pans around and shows various parts of the intersection. The camera clearly showed the car making a left turn directly in front of my client and my client having less than a second to react. He collides violently with the car. The camera continues to pan showing the direction where my client came from. It shows many many cars continuing through the intersection clearly indicating that he had a green light. The camera continues to pan and shows the traffic light in the intersection showing that the light was green. It also shows how many seconds were left because it picks up the walk don't walk signal.
This evidence is overwhelming and short-lived. Contacting the Metropolitan Police Department and requesting freedom of information is quick and cheap. You should just Google Metropolitan Police Department freedom of information act and it will take you directly to their website and they are helpful.