Trying to piece together how a car crash happened is rarely straightforward. One piece of evidence that may help is the black box in your vehicle. If installed, the data collected by this device could reveal helpful information about the cause of a crash.
If another’s negligent driving led to a crash and caused your injuries, you may be able to recover compensation for your damages. Learn more about black box devices and how they may help support a car crash claim.
At Greg Monforton & Partners, our auto accident lawyers in Windsor have spent decades helping injured victims. We have recovered millions in compensation for our clients, and we are prepared to help you.
Contact our offices to request your free consultation. There are no upfront costs or fees to pay if we represent you.
What is a Motor Vehicle Black Box?
A black box, or event data recorder (EDR), is a device that comes pre-installed by the manufacturer in the airbag computer module of most newer vehicles today.
If your vehicle has an EDR, it does not run continuously and it does not track every move you and your vehicle make. It does, however, capture and store several seconds of data from before, during and after a collision.
There are two types of events that may trigger your vehicle’s black box to begin recording data – a deployment event or a non-deployment event.
A deployment event, such as a collision, causes your airbag to deploy and triggers the EDR to begin recording. The black box records a few seconds leading up to the crash, throughout the entire collision and up to 20 seconds following the impact.
Potentially hazardous events, such as sudden acceleration, may also trigger your vehicle’s black box to begin recording. One common non-deployment event is a sudden change in speed, such as slamming on the brakes to avoid a crash.
What Data Gets Recorded in the Black Box of a Car?
The black box in a car cannot record audio or vehicle location. That said, all EDRs do not record the exact same parameters. There are up to 15 parameters that any vehicle EDR may record, but your vehicle’s black box may not capture them all.
Data recorded on your vehicle’s black box could include:
- Braking details – including whether or not they were used
- Acceleration or deceleration details
- Speed leading up to and at the time of impact
- Steering – including pre-crash steering angle
- Crash force and duration
- Engine RPM
- Whether seatbelts were worn
- Airbag deployment data
- Vehicle roll angle
- Number of impacts – especially useful if a vehicle is hit more than once
Who Can Access the Data on Your Car’s Black Box?
The data recorded on the black box of your vehicle belongs to you. No one may access this data without your permission, with a few exceptions:
- The insurance company for an accident claim, but they must obtain a subpoena
- Law enforcement
- Accident reconstruction specialists (with the vehicle owner’s permission)
Even when you give permission to access the data, it is no easy task, which is why using this data is generally reserved for complex crash cases. A technician uses special tools to connect to your vehicle’s EDR and retrieve the data file. Specialized software takes that download and translates it into a secure digital file, which may then be viewed for analysis and interpretation.
When Could Black Box Data Help Your Car Crash Claim?
The crash data from your vehicle’s black box could be especially helpful in proving your claim, especially in complex situations.
For instance, say a dog suddenly darts into the road. You were traveling the speed limit and slammed on your brakes to try to avoid hitting the animal. Unfortunately, it happened too fast and despite your best efforts, you were unable to avoid the accident. The dog’s owner, however, claims you were speeding and never tried to stop.
Accessing your data would provide evidence of the speed you were traveling and your braking data.
Other types of cases where black box data could help a car crash claim include when:
- No witnesses observed the crash
- An at-fault driver is lying about what happened
- One or more fatalities occurred or there are drivers with memory loss
- There are different accounts of what happened (he said, she said)
Can Your Vehicle’s Data Be Used Against You?
Yes, it is critical to remember that EDR data can support your claim or be used against you if you were in the wrong. Legally, you must give permission for others to access your vehicle’s black box data. The liable insurance company might try and trick you into signing something that gives them the right to obtain that data.
As with any document, we strongly recommend that you speak to a solicitor before signing or agreeing to anything.
Contact Our Law Firm to Discuss Your Car Crash Claim
Any type of claim that requires retrieving your vehicle’s black box data is going to be complex. If you do not already have a lawyer, you could greatly benefit from speaking to one and learning about your legal options.
At Greg Monforton & Partners, we are dedicated to protecting the rights of the injured. We have decades of experience and a history of proven results.
Contact our firm today or anytime, night or day, to set up your free initial consultation.
Millions Recovered. Call 866-320-4770 today.