How Louisiana Auto Accident Attorneys Use Vehicle “Black Boxes”

January 18, 2021 18-Wheeler Truck Accidents

How Louisiana Auto Accident Attorneys Use Vehicle “Black Boxes”

All new Louisiana automobiles, trucks and other vehicles contain event data recorders (“EDR”), more commonly called vehicle “black boxes.” Automobile black boxes are electronic diagnostic modules like mini-computers that record various information as a vehicle is driven. After a crash, the data from the black box can be retrieved. The US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (“NHTSA”) has established standards for what information an EDR is required to collect. That data includes:

  • Speed
  • Engine revolutions per minute
  • Application of brakes
  • Steering angles
  • Whether (and when) occupants are wearing passive restraints (seat belts)
  • Airbag deployment

Not all EDRs are the same. Some EDRs record data constantly while the vehicle is in motion and store the information for a predetermined amount of time. Other EDRs constantly record data, but overwrite the data. Other EDRs only begin recording in the event of a sudden impact.

After an accident, experienced and proven Louisiana auto accident attorneys — like those at Mansfield, Melancon, Cranmer & Dick LLC — have procedures by which they can seek disclosure of the data contained in the EDR. Legally, these are called subpoenas. These can be sent to whomever has possession of the vehicle or vehicles involved in the crash — like the repair shops. Subpoenas are the method by which personal injury attorneys request that the data from the EDRs be downloaded and made available for use in settlement negotiations and/or litigation.

Experienced attorneys know that EDR data can be the key to winning a case and obtaining the maximum settlement for any and all victims. In accident cases, often, the testimony and evidence is conflicting. The at-fault driver may claim to have been driving the speed limit while the victim may testify that the other driver was speeding. Or, there may be a conflict in testimony about whether one vehicle stopped at an intersection or not. EDR data can resolve these types of conflicting testimony and evidence.

EDR data is important because, if you have been the victim of a car wreck in Louisiana, you must prove that the other driver was negligent. In Louisiana, proving negligence involves providing evidence that the other driver breached one or more legal duties that are owed. For example, every driver in Louisiana owes a duty of care to others using the roads. Furthermore, every driver has a duty to drive the speed limit and obey other traffic laws. If any of these duties are breached — by, for example, driving too fast — then a driver has breached his or her duty and is legally liable for injuries and property damage resulting from a crash. If the EDR data shows that the at-fault driver was speeding, then that is proof of breach of duty.

Similar types of data and information can be obtained from onboard cameras that are now commonly installed inside and outside of modern vehicles. As with EDR data, Louisiana personal injury attorneys can issue subpoenas to request that camera footage be turned over.

Mansfield Melancon Attorneys can Help

If you or someone you love has been injured in a Louisiana automobile accident or other type of accident, contact the Louisiana personal injury attorneys at Mansfield, Melancon, Cranmer & Dick LLC. We have a proven track record of success handling many types of Louisiana personal injury cases, including, but not limited to, car accidents, boating accidents, motorcycle accidents, premises liability accidents, and cases involving nursing care facility abuse/neglect. Contact us by calling one of our offices: New Orleans at (504) 500-1108, Baton Rouge at (225) 612-0800, or Lafayette at (337) 409-0003. You can also request a free consultation by using our “Contact Us” page.