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Using a Vehicle’s Black Box to Help Prove Liability for a Crash

Posted on behalf of Lynch Law Firm on Sep 22, 2021  in Car Accidents News

Black box with a question mark on itJust like airplanes and ships, most vehicles manufactured today have a black box that stores important data that may be used to help determine the cause of a crash. In some accident cases where fault is disputed, data from the black box may help determine who should be liable for damages.

Recovering the necessary information from a black box to prove fault may be difficult and you may require assistance from a New Jersey car crash attorney. The attorneys at Lynch Law Firm are prepared to help you build a strong case and recover black box data if we think it may help us with your case. We can discuss the facts of your claim during a free consultation to see what legal options may be available to you.

Below, we discuss how your vehicle’s black box may help support your claim for compensation.

What is the Purpose of a Vehicle’s Black Box?

A black box is an electronic device that records the events that occur before, during and immediately after a crash. Also known as an Event Data Recorder (EDR), most vehicles manufactured after 2014 have one built into their airbag or powertrain control systems. Although the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration has not made EDRs a requirement in every vehicle, most manufacturers have included them anyway.

Black boxes were originally manufactured for use in aircraft to track their functions to help identify any potential problems. They are used for similar purposes in passenger vehicles.

How Much Information Does the Black Box Record?

As black boxes are usually connected to a vehicle’s airbag system, it is logical that any initiated recordings would be tied to whether the airbags in a vehicle did or did not deploy in a crash.

The black box should record any pre- and post-crash data whether the airbags deploy or not. However, an airbag deployment is likely to trigger a longer recording since these crashes are generally considered to be more serious.

Some additional information that your vehicle’s black box may record includes:

  • Acceleration rates
  • Speed
  • Steering
  • Force of the impact(s)
  • Duration of the crash
  • Braking
  • Seatbelt use
  • Passenger airbag activation/use
  • Seat positions
  • Airbag deployment(s)

Overall, a vehicle’s black box should record a large amount of data so long as the vehicle is turned on. However, it is important to note that there is no consensus for how much each black box records and for how long the information is stored, as the NHTSA has not issued any blanket rules due to these black boxes not being a requirement for vehicle manufacturers.

Can the Data from the Black Box Prove Fault?

Due to the amount of data that black boxes record, these devices may be used to prove fault, particularly when fault is contested or there were not enough reliable witnesses to explain what happened.

For example, the data from a black box may prove another driver was speeding before colliding with your vehicle. If that driver’s phone was connected via Bluetooth to their vehicle, the black box may also show if he or she was on the phone at the time of the crash.

There are plenty more examples of how a black box may help you prove someone else’s negligence is what caused the accident that resulted in your injuries. The only caveat is that recovering the necessary data requires specific tools that only certain parties may have, such as an accident reconstruction expert. Fortunately, our attorneys have the resources necessary to help you recover this important data if your case calls for it.

How the Insurance Company May Try to Use the Data Against You

Just as the data from another driver’s black box may help prove he or she acted negligently, the insurance company may try and recover information from your vehicle’s black box to try and undermine your case. One way they may do this is by using black box data that may show you were on the phone or were not wearing a seatbelt at the time of the crash.

However, even if the insurance company manages to successfully prove these things, you may still have a case. Your lawyer may need to gather more evidence to help strengthen your case.

We Are Prepared to Help. Call Us Today

If fault for your accident is being contested by another driver or his or her insurance company, our attorneys may be able to help you prove fault by recovering information from the black boxes in the vehicles involved in the crash.

Our attorneys work on a contingency basis, which means we do not charge you anything up front. We can bear the cost of building a case, including the cost of obtaining black box data.

Call us today to learn more about how we may be able to help you.

No upfront fees. No risks. Phone: (800) 518-0508

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