Black Boxes — Important Evidence For Your Auto Accident Case

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Do you know how to access one of the best sources of information about your auto accident? If you don't know about the event data recorder (EDR) that may be available in any vehicle involved, you might be missing out on an important source of evidence. Here's what you need to know about many cars' data troves. 

What Is the EDR?

An EDR is familiar to many Americans as an airplane's so-called 'black box'. This is a standalone device connected to the vehicle's computer in order to record short bits of data before and after an accident. 

Many cars manufactured today have a similar black box. It may or may not be accessible to the driver, but it can be accessed with permission and special equipment to plug in. 

What Does the EDR Record?

Black box details vary by manufacturer, but they commonly contain data about the following:

  • Speed

  • Brake application

  • Throttle position

  • Airbag deployment

  • Force of impact

  • Acceleration and deceleration

  • Seat belt engagement

In addition, some EDRs contain some video or audio triggered by the incident. They may also be trackable with GPS data. 

Can You Use EDR Data in Court?

In fact, black box data could be a huge part of a case in court. This information is generally considered independent and reliable. It could show that someone was speeding, that a driver hit the brakes, that you were hit at a certain speed, or that the other party failed to slow down appropriately. 

Keep in mind that EDR data would generally be available to all parties in the case. The process of discovery ensures that this type of evidence is shared if either party wishes to see it. So it may include data that could harm your case. 

Who Can Access EDR Data?

After an accident, it's important to know who has access to this kind of vital data. The answer depends on your particular agreements, such as with your insurer. 

In general, you can provide authorization as the owner. Law enforcement can usually access it for investigative purposes. Car repair services may be able to use the data. And finally, the judge can issue a court order for it. 

Where Can You Start?

The information contained in your or another vehicle's black box could be a key part of your lawsuit. The most important first step is to determine what EDRs are available and learn what they can tell you — for better or worse. Get this step started by meeting with a qualified personal injury attorney in your state today.

For more information, contact a law office such as The Radmore Law Firm.

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