black box in car accident

Can Your Vehicle’s “Black Box” Help with Your Auto Accident Claim?

The state of Alabama follows the contributory negligence legal theory. According to this theory, if you are even 1% responsible for the accident, you are not usually allowed to seek compensation for your injuries. It is, therefore, necessary to provide convincing proof of negligence and fault on the part of the other driver in order to receive compensation.

A piece of equipment that can help in obtaining evidence about the accident is the car’s black box. If you sustained any injuries in the car accident, evidence from the black box is very likely in helping you obtain the compensation you deserve for your expenses on medical treatment, lost wages, and the physical and mental trauma caused as a repercussion of the incident.

What Exactly is a Black Box?

A black box, more commonly referred to as an Event Data Recorder (EDR), is an electronic device equipped in a vehicle that records information before, during, and immediately after a crash. An EDR is generally a part of the vehicle’s airbag or powertrain system. Most people associate black boxes with airplanes, but they are also installed in motor vehicles. As of 2014, almost 96 percent of new car models had an EDR built into them.

What Type of Data is Recorded by the Black Box?

A black box installed in a vehicle is used to monitor the data, using it to deploy the airbags when needed. This is why it is attached to the airbag system. The car’s black box records the data about the functioning abilities of the vehicle just before a triggering incident like a crash occurs.

They collect mainly two types of data:

Non-deployment event: This is a situation where the airbag is not deployed but all the data before and after the crash is recorded.

Deployment event: This is a situation where the airbags are deployed and there is data collection during the crash and pre-crash. Some post-crash data may be also collected but this depends on the condition of the vehicle after the incident.

The data and information recorded in the black box may include:

  • Speed
  • Throttle Application
  • Brake Application
  • Crash Impact
  • Steering Input
  • Engine RPM
  • Use of Seatbelts
  • Number of Impacts Suffered

A very important thing to note is that EDRs can only work when a car is turned on, so in case of an accident involving a parked car, the black box cannot be used to prove liability.

How Do You Access the Data Recorded in The Black Box?

We have already established how useful black box data can be. But if it actually is so accurate and comprehensive, the question remains that why the black box is not being accessed and used more frequently in accident claim cases. The simple answer to this is that the data is not so easy to access and get a hold of.

Taking the device out and simply plugging it into your computer to access the information will not work. You have to get it uninstalled and accessed by a professional, the cost of which can range from $200- $2,000 depending on the unit. Another factor is also that most people are not aware if their vehicle even has an EDR, which results in the valuable information going to waste.

How Can the Data Help Your Accident Claim?

Even though the data and information from the black box cannot single-handedly prove if you were right in your accident claim, it can really help to fill the gaps in your narrative of the accident and will at the least help support the other evidence.

This data is also nearly impossible to refute due to its quantitative nature. If there is ever a “he said, she said” scenario in court, the solid figures of the black box data will be key help to shut down any arguments from the other counsel and bring out the true circumstances surrounding the accident.

Based on this, this data can act as the sole voice of clarity and reason, even in a case that may have led to the death or caused loss of memory for the victim.

Our Alabama Personal Injury Attorneys Can Help You Get What You Deserve!

If you have been injured by someone and need to file a tort claim, you need a seasoned Alabama personal injury attorney on your side. Attorney Frank M. Wilson is a successful personal injury litigator in Alabama who has a reputation for handling complicated cases that many personal injury attorneys would be hesitant to take up.

Known for his exhaustive knowledge of business and personal injury laws, attorney Frank M. Wilson has been awarded Martindale-Hubbell’s AV Preeminent Rating, which is the highest standard that an attorney can hope to achieve in the industry.

To discuss your case with a dedicated Montgomery personal injury attorney from our firm, call us today at 334-781-4431 or contact us online and schedule a free consultation.

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