Depending on the type of vehicle involved in an accident, it may be equipped with a black box. A black box is a small device that records data on the car’s physical condition and the driver’s actions before a collision. Retrieving the data can be critical in helping you prove fault.
Black boxes typically store 30 days worth of data before it writes over the information. The data it will often contain that can be used as evidence in a car accident case includes:
The recorded data is often transmitted to the trucking company or a hired third-party company when an accident occurs. However, an attorney must act quickly by sending a spoliation letter to the trucking company to ensure the evidence is preserved.
Data from a vehicle’s black box may prove a party’s liability if it demonstrates negligent behaviors contributed to the crash. For example:
Examples that can point to the driver being at fault for a car accident include data showing that brakes were not applied right before the collision, the vehicle was speeding, or an overactive engine. If there was no data that the driver was braking, it can prove that the driver had no idea they were going to crash, which means they may have been distracted (e.g., talking or texting on their phone, eating, adjusting the music, looking up directions, etc.). If the vehicle was traveling above the speed limit, that data can be evidence of reckless driving behavior. If the engine activity shows that the driver had not taken a break in quite some time, it may be evidence that the driver was operating the vehicle while fatigued.
If the at-fault driver was working at the time of the accident or driving a company vehicle, the black box data may prove their employer is liable for the crash. For example, data that shows the car had ongoing or unaddressed maintenance issues can point to the employer’s failure to properly maintain their vehicle.
As a last example of how black box data can demonstrate liability, suppose a preventable mechanical failure caused the accident. In that case, the data can expose a product defect, leading the part or vehicle manufacturer to be liable.
These examples show how black box information can be used as solid evidence in a car accident claim. Therefore, it is vital to speak to a St. Louis Car Accident Lawyer as soon as possible to assist you in preserving the critical data.