In recent years, auto makers began installing new technology that tracks driver behavior and vehicle performance, just like an airplane’s “black box.” This technology, in conjunction with other accident reconstruction tools, has been instrumental in helping a car accident lawyer seek fair compensation for auto injuries.
Event Data Recorders (EDR)
EDR are now available in more than 96 percent of cars made after 2014, and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is considering making the recorders mandatory. The EDR track a number of factors that contribute to an auto accident, such as:
- Instances of hard braking
- Swerving off the road
- Making an erratic motion with the vehicle
- Airbag deployment
A car accident lawyer can use evidence from the EDR in the defendant’s vehicle to demonstrate to the court that the defendant’s actions were responsible for the accident, and the defendant should be held accountable for the victim’s injuries.
Limits Of The Technology
An EDR is a good starting place for a car accident lawyer, but it provides only a small picture of the circumstances that led to the accident. An EDR cannot, for instance, show evidence of distracted driving, nor can it show how the actions of other vehicles on the road affected the defendant’s driving patterns.
For a more complete assessment, a car accident lawyer typically turns to expert witness testimony. The witness of choice for many years was a forensic engineer, who could convey the physical forces involved in the crash. More recent trials included the use of forensic animation, which not only shows the physics of the crash, but provides a visual recreation of the accident for the court to see. Data from the EDR, the police report, witness testimony, and weather information are variables that are accounted for in the animation.
EDR And Minnesota
Currently, Minnesota allows the use of EDR data in the courtroom. In more than one case, the courts have ruled that the data is admissible because of the trust the NHTSA places in the technology. There are two bills working their way through the legislature that expand the use of EDR in both criminal and civil trials involving car accidents, along with new rules protecting the privacy and security of the EDR data.
When seeking compensation for an auto injury, hard data and forensic evidence carry significant weight. The use of EDR data empowers a car accident lawyer to seek fair compensation by providing the clearest and most reliable information about the accident.