The moments after an auto accident can be extremely important in determining which driver’s insurance company should be paying for the resulting damages or injuries. In most cases, each driver provides a reasonably accurate account of what happened to the responding police officer, and the officer uses that information to file an accident report. Sometimes, however, the information provided by one or both drivers conflicts with the physical evidence or other individuals’ accounts of the accident. When this happens, crash investigators may need to find other ways to figure out exactly who was responsible.
Event Data Recorders
You are probably aware that commercial airplanes are generally equipped with an electronic device that records flight data and other important details that could be important when a crash or an unexpected mechanical failure occurs. Commonly known as a “black box”—despite being bright orange so that it can be found more easily at a crash site—the device is actually called an “event data recorder” or EDR.
What you may not know is that your car most likely has a similar device included as part of its onboard safety systems. In fact, if you bought a new car after September 1, 2014, your vehicle definitely has one. Also called event data recorders, the black boxes in most automobiles are able to store up to about 20 seconds of data that can be accessed and analyzed in the event of a crash. Details like speed, throttle position, brake application, seatbelt use, steering wheel angles, and even whether certain seats were occupied can give a crash investigators a firsthand account of what was going on with the vehicle at the time of the crash.
Retrieved Data Disputes Driver’s Account
The information pulled from a vehicle’s event data recorder was recently used to facilitate a settlement following an accident last summer in Sterling, Connecticut. The crash occurred at an intersection where a woman and her teenage son were attempting to turn left when a pickup truck approaching from the right slammed into the turning car’s passenger side. Both vehicles were totaled and both the woman and the teen suffered traumatic brain injuries.
Following the accident, the driver of the pickup truck told the responding police officer that the woman never stopped at the stop sign posted at the intersection. Based on that information, the officer cited the woman and the pickup truck driver’s insurance company refused to pay out any money for the injuries sustained by the woman and her son.
The woman’s attorney, however, filed suit, and was able to obtain data from the pickup truck’s black box. The event data recorder had stored about eight seconds of information prior to the crash, and it showed that the truck was traveling 58 miles per hour. The speed limit on that particular stretch of road is only 25 mph. When confronted with the EDR data during depositions, the driver “agreed he was going that fast” and the officer admitted he made a mistake in issuing a citation to the woman. Based on the new information, the pickup truck driver’s insurance company agreed to pay out $100,000—the policy limit—for each injured victim, bringing the total settlement amount to $200,000.
Let Us Help
The data recorded by a vehicle’s black box can be extremely valuable in a car accident case, but the average person may face challenges in getting the information released to him or her. An experienced Connecticut personal injury attorney can help you obtain such data and any other available evidence. Contact our office to learn more or to schedule a free, confidential consultation. Call [[phone1]] today.