15 Aug, 2023

How to Get Traffic Camera Footage for Your Accident Case in Bloomington

Author Todd A. Strong
Machine Learning analytics identify person technology in smart city. Concept of How to Get Traffic Camera Footage for Your Accident Case in Bloomington
Machine Learning analytics identify person technology in smart city. Concept of How to Get Traffic Camera Footage for Your Accident Case in Bloomington

After an accident, you may need to know how to get traffic camera footage to prove your case. To ascertain liability in a car accident, and secure just compensation for your injuries and damages, it is vital to gather evidence. One such source of evidence that can offer meaningful insights into the incident is traffic camera footage. Various types of traffic cameras, including red light cameras, and surveillance cameras installed at many intersections and roads in Illinois, might have recorded video footage of the accident as it occurred.

How Long Do Traffic Cameras Keep Footage?

The duration for which the footage from a traffic camera is retained could vary based on the type of footage that captured your accident. Multiple sources of video and traffic camera footage may exist for your accident. In Illinois, traffic cameras are installed in different areas. Accident or traffic violation video footage could be obtained from any of the following sources:

  • Traffic cameras, such as red light cameras or automated speed enforcement cameras
  • Security cameras installed on business premises
  • Dashcams
  •  Other cameras, including home surveillance systems or cellphones

Getting a hold of the video footage of your accident is crucial and time-sensitive. Most surveillance camera systems have a limited time period, after which the video data is vulnerable to deletion or overwriting.

In the immediate aftermath of your accident, you may not be in a physical condition to begin working on your case or seek legal assistance. The sooner your car accident attorneys can start working on your case, however, the greater are the chances of retrieving this essential evidence.

While the time period that footage is kept may vary, depending on the source, it is possible for video recordings of accidents to be deleted or destroyed within just a few days. Often, security camera footage from both personal and business settings is not kept beyond 30 days and may even be overwritten sooner. To ensure that you are able to receive proper compensation, it is important to retrieve any footage as soon as possible after the incident. In Illinois, you can review 24-hour streaming video from red-light cameras for up to 30 days. Additionally, video footage of red-light violations is available for review for a period of two years.

Getting Traffic Camera Footage in Bloomington

If you need to obtain camera footage of a car accident in Illinois, it can be a bit challenging, but it is possible if you follow the correct procedures.

Report the Accident

Step one is to report the accident to the police immediately. When the officers arrive at the scene, they will create accident reports that contain significant information, such as the location and time of the incident. This report is crucial when requesting access to footage of the accident, as it will help identify the relevant traffic cameras that may have recorded the incident.

Identify Nearby Traffic Cameras

Once the police report is filed, you can start identifying potential traffic camera locations near the accident scene. Most cities have traffic cameras installed at intersections, busy roadways, and high-traffic areas. These cameras are usually maintained by the local department of transportation or law enforcement agencies. You can research the city's official website or contact the local police department for assistance in identifying the traffic camera locations. Other cameras may be operated by third parties, such as nearby businesses or dashcams on cars.

File a Records Request

To obtain traffic camera footage for an accident, you must file a public records request with the agency responsible for maintaining the cameras. This can typically be done via email, fax, or in person, depending on the jurisdiction. Ensure that you provide specific details about the accident, such as the date, time, and location, as well as your contact information to aid the agency in locating the footage and delivering it quickly.

Be Timeous

Timing is crucial when requesting traffic camera footage, since most agencies only retain footage for a limited period, usually ranging from a few days to a few weeks. Therefore, it's essential to make your request as soon as possible after the accident to guarantee that the footage is still available for retrieval.

Work With an Attorney

Accessing traffic camera footage can be complicated and time-consuming. Thus, hiring an experienced car accident attorney may be beneficial. He or she will have the legal knowledge and resources to handle the public records request efficiently and promptly on your behalf. A car accident lawyer may also assist in preserving vital evidence and ensuring that all relevant cameras are identified and accessed.

What Places Tend to Have Surveillance Cameras?

There are several potential sources where you can look for footage of your accident.

Dash Cam

Retrieving footage from dash cams installed in vehicles can help determine fault in a collision involving you, another motorist, or a witness.

Police Cam

In Illinois, police officers may use body-worn cameras to record the incident. State law mandates that these recordings remain unaltered for a minimum of 90 days. To access the footage, you'll need to identify the officer who recorded your accident and his or her precinct. An Illinois traffic accident attorney can help you with this process and submit an official request for the footage. With this information, obtaining traffic camera footage in Illinois is a straightforward process.

Parking Lots

It is common for parking lots to have security cameras to monitor activities. Accidents in parking lots often happen when cars are stationary, but the resulting damage can still be significant, causing injury to individuals and costly damage to vehicles.

If you need to file an insurance claim, it is crucial to have access to camera footage to prove that the accident was not due to negligence or carelessness.


In Bloomington, numerous businesses have installed security cameras outside their premises. These cameras are usually positioned towards the parking lot and road areas to enhance security. After an accident, it is advisable to check neighboring businesses to determine if they have cameras installed. Some common types of businesses that have exterior cameras are gas stations, bars, pawnshops, and retail stores.


If you are looking for video footage of your accident, nearby homes could be a potential source. Lots of homeowners have security cameras installed outside or Ring doorbell systems. It might be worth checking with them to see if they have any footage that could help you.

What Are the Benefits of Traffic Camera Footage?

When you file a civil car accident claim, your lawyer must demonstrate the defendant's liability by presenting evidence to prove distracted driving, or that he or she is more likely than not responsible for the accident and any resulting injuries. The evidence presented must be convincing enough for the insurance company or jury to find the defendant liable.

One of the most convincing forms of evidence is traffic camera footage. Without such footage, the other driver or party at fault may attempt to shift the blame onto you. Your lawyer would have to rely on other types of evidence, like cell phone records, chemical blood alcohol test results, accident reconstructionist reports, police reports, safety records, and more, to prove your case.

While these forms of evidence can help establish liability, concrete video evidence of how the accident occurred can significantly increase your chances of receiving fair compensation.

A Bloomington Car Accident Lawyer Can Help

When dealing with a personal injury case, it is important to have an experienced attorney on your side to ensure that your interests are protected and guide you on what to do after a car accident.

An experienced attorney has a deep understanding of personal injury laws and can navigate the legal system. He or she can also access and interpret traffic camera footage effectively to support your claim.

Your attorney will gather all relevant evidence, including traffic camera footage, medical records, witness statements, and opinions, to build a strong case on your behalf.

An attorney can handle insurance companies and their tactics during settlement discussions. He or she will advocate for your rights and ensure that you are not taken advantage of.

If necessary, your attorney will be prepared to take your case to court and present evidence, including traffic camera footage, before a judge and jury. He or she will fight for your best interests.

Your attorney can protect your rights and ensure that you are treated fairly throughout the process. With an attorney by your side, insurance companies are less likely to use coercive tactics or undervalue your claim.

If you have suffered an injury and believe that video evidence may be crucial to your case, it is advisable to consult with an experienced personal injury attorney who will know how to get traffic camera footage. He or she will guide you through the process of accessing the footage, ensure compliance with FOIA requirements, and use this evidence to strengthen your claim.

About The Author

Photo of Todd A. Strong
Illinois workers’ compensation and personal injury lawyer Todd A. Strong is the founder of Strong Law Offices in Peoria, Illinois. Todd brings considerable legal knowledge, experience, and skill to the table to ensure injured victims throughout the state are treated with respect, dignity, and fairness.