Sufficient evidence matters the most when seeking compensation for a car accident. However, gathering concrete proof can be difficult, especially if it’s the other driver’s word against yours.
The good news is that proving your side of the story is now easier with advanced technology. The black box data from the vehicles in the crash provide accurate proof of what happened in the accident. Read on to understand the meaning of a black box, the data it records, and how the data determines the driver at fault.
What Is a Car’s Black Box?
A black box is an electronic device that records technical vehicle information briefly before, during, and after an accident. A car’s black box is also called an event data recorder (EDR).
While a car’s black box data typically is recorded for a few seconds, the information can determine whether you lose or win a case.
Below are some of the data a car’s black box records:
- Acceleration, speed, and deceleration right before the accident
- Whether the vehicle deployed airbags during the crash
- The time between vehicle impact and airbag deployment
- Diagnostics details about a car’s system
- If a vehicle’s occupants wore seat belts
- Brake usage a few seconds before the crash
- Brake status
- Engine’s revolutions and throttle position
Law enforcement officers, investigators, accident reconstructionists, and other people involved in your case can download this information from the black box’s memory to understand:
- How a car’s safety system performed before and during the crash
- Events in the vehicles before the accidents occurred
- Who may be responsible for the crash
How Accurate Is the Black Box Data?
Event data recorders are almost always precise, assuming the devices weren’t spoiled or didn’t malfunction before the crash. Sometimes, lawyers and investigators can use EDR data to prove fault in an accident.
The black box data may represent the best evidence when claiming compensation. It is sometimes more reliable than eyewitnesses that account for what happened seconds before, during, and after a severe crash. Law enforcement agencies, courts, and experts recognize the black box as a reliable data source in accident cases.
While facts and figures from the EDR may represent the truth, other people involved in your case may twist EDR facts and figures to misrepresent the truth. For this reason, you could get less than what you truly deserve if you don’t have an experienced lawyer by your side.
Is the Black Box Data Completely Reliable When Proving Fault?
While EDRs are powerful evidence in car crash cases, they may not be admissible in all accident situations. In other words, they are not always reliable. They may sometimes misread airbag deployment, speed, and seat belt use.
For this reason, either party in a car crash can challenge the use of EDR data as evidence against them for reasons including:
- The EDR was faulty and wasn’t recording data accurately during the accident.
- Expert testimony regarding the EDR’s calibration and the impact of vehicle maintenance on the EDR indicated the unreliability of the data.
- The EDR information is inconsistent with the damage photos, eyewitness testimony, and measurements at the accident scene.
Apart from the above reasons, black box data provides an incomplete picture of how the accident occurred. These devices only capture a few seconds of a car’s activity in memory. That means that driving behavior before the recording is omitted from the evidence.
Suppose you were driving below or at the speed limit but had to suddenly accelerate to respond to a trigger event or avoid a collision. In that case, the black box will only record the acceleration, while your previous calm driving will not be recorded.
How Can Your Car’s Black Box Support Your Accident Claim?
The black box can reveal the real cause of the accident. Depending on the black box’s information, it may show who is solely at fault or whether both drivers shared fault in the accidents. For example, it may reveal if the other driver was speeding, leading to the crash.
The data can also establish the forces of impact in the accident, which can support the seriousness of injuries in the crash.
Can You Get Compensated Even If the Black Box Data Is Against Your Accident Claim?
Because the EDR only shows a portion of the story of your accident, even if the data in it makes your case look bad, you might still prevail in an injury claim. There are many factors that cause an accident, and an EDR doesn’t measure them all. A seasoned personal injury lawyer will be able to evaluate all aspects of your claim and advise whether you can win your case.
What happens if the vehicles’ black boxes reveal that both drivers shared fault in the accident?
Again, because an EDR only captures part of the story, you might still be able to win your case.
However, in Alabama, which is a contributory negligence state, it may be harder because if if both drivers share fault neither can recover compensation.
In Florida, the compensation amount you might be entitled to will depend on the percentage of your shared fault. For example, if your fault amounts to 25%, your compensation for the total damages you’ve sustained reduces by 25%.
What matters the most in a car accident claim is showing that the other driver was at-fault or showing that your shared fault was the least in the crash.
If the other driver caused the accident and your resulting injuries (if any), you must prove it to be compensated the correct amount you might be entitled to. In addition to the black box information, your lawyer will investigate the crash to identify how the other driver’s actions caused the accident.
Similarly, the other driver’s insurance company and their attorney will investigate the accident. Their ultimate goal will be denying you compensation or giving you the least possible amount you may be owed.
They establish that you are at fault or shared the fault in the accident. For this reason, you need an experienced lawyer by your side to ensure you get the compensation you deserve.
Hire An Experienced Car Accident Lawyer to Handle Your Case
Car accidents are stressful. They happen when you least expect them and, in most cases, during the worst times of your life. You don’t have to walk through this challenging moment alone.
Plus, the other party in your case may have the ultimate goal of denying you the compensation you deserve.
How long does a car’s black box store data?
A car’s black box only stores data for about five to ten seconds before the accident and a few seconds after.
Where is the black box located in a car?
The black box is under the car’s center console in most vehicles. In other vehicles, it’s beneath the passenger’s front or driver’s seat. This positioning enables it to survive crashes.