Can a Vehicle’s Black Box Be Used as Evidence in an Accident Claim?

mechanic looking at black box data on laptopNearly all new vehicles manufactured since 2014 have a black box built into their powertrain or airbag control systems. These black boxes in vehicles are very much like the ones used in airplanes and ships to determine the cause of an accident. When fault for an auto collision is contested, data from a vehicle’s black box may be useful to help prove who caused the crash.

However, getting the information out of a black box may be complex, especially if the necessary data is stored in the at-fault vehicle’s black box. Our Sacramento car crash lawyers are prepared to help you through the legal process, including filing the paperwork needed to recover evidence to prove your claim.

Schedule a free consultation today to discuss your legal options.

What Types of Data Does a Black Box Record?

Formally known as an Event Data Recorder (EDR), a black box is an electronic device that records certain data from a vehicle’s internal system.

While there are no federal regulations about what is and is not recorded, there is a general standard for most vehicle manufacturers about what data is collected by an EDR.

Generally, the data captured by the EDR includes the following information before, during and after a collision, but only when the vehicle’s engine is running:

  • Speed
  • Force of impact
  • Number of impacts
  • Steering
  • Acceleration
  • Braking
  • Seatbelt use
  • Headlights/taillights functions
  • Passenger detection
  • Seat positions
  • Airbag deployment
  • Turn signal use
  • Tire pressure
  • Gas/oil levels

The storage space on a vehicle’s black box may be limited, so it often records newer information over existing data. This limits the window of time to recover necessary information that could be used as evidence.

How Can Data From a Black Box Prove Fault?

The information recorded by a vehicle’s black box can be the key to proving another driver is at fault for an accident.

For example, you may be able to prove a driver is lying about using a turn signal before a collision if his or her vehicle did not record the use of the turn signal. The black box data may also be able to prove whether the at-fault driver was speeding prior to the crash.

Black box data can also be important if you get into a multi-vehicle collision. The EDR records the number of impacts a vehicle experiences, so if you are first hit from behind and pushed into another vehicle, you may be able to avoid liability for hitting the vehicle in front of you, even though vehicle damage may suggest otherwise.

The black box data may also help you contest any arguments made by the insurance company against you. For example, if the insurance company claims you were not wearing a seatbelt, the EDR in your vehicle can help prove that you were. The insurance company may also try to argue that your injuries are not severe because the crash was minor. Since the black box records the force of impact, you may be able to prove that the injuries you sustained are in line with the severity of the crash.

How is Data From a Black Box Recovered?

Obtaining EDR data from the at-fault driver’s vehicle can be challenging. The law protects an at-fault driver’s rights, so you would need to take legal action to compel the discovery of the EDR data to be used as evidence. In other words, you may need to file a lawsuit to force the opposing party to hand over the information you need to build your case.

Whether you need to recover EDR data from your own vehicle or from an at-fault driver’s, our attorneys are prepared to help you through the process.

Schedule a Free Consultation. Call Today

If you were injured in a crash and the at-fault driver is trying to deny fault, call our knowledgeable attorneys today to schedule a free consultation. We can discuss your claim to see what legal options may be available to you.

Our knowledgeable attorneys are prepared to gather the necessary evidence you need to build a strong case for maximum compensation. This includes any data from your vehicle’s black box or the at-fault driver’s black box.

We do not charge you anything while we work on your case and there are no fees unless we win.

Call (916) 777-7777 for a risk-free consultation.