Attorneys are utilizing black box data more and more when building a personal injury case. So what is a “black box” and how can it be used if you are involved in a motor vehicle collision?
The black box, also known is the Event Data Recorder (EDR), is a component of your vehicle that acts as a computer system. It monitors and records many aspects while you drive such as speeds, braking, the use of seatbelts, and even airbag deployment. EDR’s are in almost every newer vehicle, however, if the car that struck you or your own car are older models they may not have an EDR system built in. If your vehicle or the vehicle that struck you does have an EDR system, the data from this system can be downloaded and used in your personal injury lawsuit.
So why is black box or EDR data important? When two individuals are involved in a collision there will likely be two different stories about how the collision will happen. The two versions of the collision might indicate different speeds, different braking patterns, and different ideas as to whether seatbelts were in use. This is where the black box/EDR comes into play. The data downloaded from the EDR system can be used to help corroborate or contradict key witness testimony.
Not only does the EDR data help with corroborating key facts, it can be used by your attorneys to make an impression on the Jury. For example, if the downloaded data indicates that the person who struck you with their car was traveling 80 mph five seconds before the accident occurred and had slowed to 78 mph at the point of impact, this information (combined with the fact that the speed limit is posted as 55 mph) can be used to show the Jury that the Defendant/at-fault driver was engaged in dangerous behavior. The data from the EDR system is seemingly much more persuasive then having someone estimate as to what speed they thought the at-fault driver might be traveling at.
Lastly, EDR data can be used by expert accident reconstruction witnesses to create a more accurate representation of how the collision occurred should your case proceed to trial. When accurate speeds and braking patterns can be determined from the EDR data, the reconstruction of the accident will be more reliable than if it was based on individuals estimates of the speed and whether or not their brakes engaged.
All three points mentioned above make black box/EDR data invaluable to building your case.
The Attorneys at Larson Larimer Schneider are well versed in how to obtain and utilize EDR data. Larson Larimer Schneider is currently available to handle a wide variety of claims including motor vehicle accidents, motorcycle accident, trucking accidents, insurance disputes, medical malpractice claims, slip and falls, ski accidents, and wrongful death claims.