Vehicle Black Box Data Can Be Key Evidence in Your Auto Case
By Tony Fusco
In many car and truck accidents there are disputes between parties as to what actually happened. Who caused the crash? Who is at fault? Without independent witnesses who saw the accident as it happened, parties may feel they are left with just their word against the word of the other driver. Those legal cases involve what is called “disputed liability,” where the parties disagree on fault.
When reviewing a disputed liability case, I will look at pictures of the accident scene, at the damage on the vehicles, and review statements given by the affected parties in order to see if some light can be shed on what actually happened.
Fortunately, there is a piece of technology in your vehicle which you may not be aware of that could become beneficial in your car accident case. Notably found in airplane and tractor-trailers (semi-trucks), black boxes are now installed in various car models.
These black boxes record vehicular data such as car speed, direction of the steering wheel, engine RPM, brake pedal depression, accelerator depression and other related data points.
For example, a driver pulls up to an intersection getting ready to take a right hand turn. He comes to a complete stop, looks left and right, and sees a vehicle to his left in the distance. Knowing the speed is only 35 miles per hours, he decides he has enough time to safely make his turn. However, upon making the turn he is quickly hit on the side of his vehicle. The driver wonders what happened, thinking that the other driver must have been going way over the speed limit at the time of the collision.
Without black box data it may be difficult to prove, without extensive scientific analysis, to calculate the force of the collision and/or how fast the other vehicle was going. But, with black box data, the answer to that question may be just a download away.
It is imperative to act quickly after an accident because black box data can be lost when a vehicle is salvaged or repaired. Upon taking your case, we are able to send a spoliation letter to the owner of the vehicle and the insurance company instructing them not to tamper with the vehicle until the data can be obtained.
At Barrett, Fasig & Brooks, our lawyers are experienced and thorough. It is important to hire a lawyer who knows how to effectively utilize and acquire black box data in order to best support your case. If you have been in an accident, please call us. We can help.