Electronic evidence, like a vehicle’s Event Data Recorder, supplements traditional evidence in car crash claims. This traditional evidence usually includes the police report, medical bills, and witness statements. This evidence is often incomplete or inaccurate. For example if the victim died, the police report only contains the other driver’s side of the story.
To a Columbus personal injury attorney, electronic evidence often makes the difference between a successful outcome and settling for less. If traditional evidence is weak, for whatever reason, a victim/plaintiff could have trouble establishing liability by a preponderance of the evidence, or more likely that not. Furthermore, there’s usually a connection between the amount of credible evidence a victim/plaintiff presents and the amount of compensation jurors award.
What is an EDR?
Most people do not know that their vehicle has an Event Data Recorder, a device which is a lot like a black box flight data recorder in a commercial airplane. EDRs first appeared in the 1970s and became mandatory in all passenger vehicles in 2005. First-generation EDRs usually only recorded airbag deployment. Today’s devices are much more sophisticated. Depending on the vehicle make, and model, the EDR typically measures and records items like:
Vehicle speed, and
A skilled Columbus personal injury lawyer puts these bits of information like puzzle pieces and creates a compelling picture of the accident for the jury.
Furthermore, electronic evidence resonates very well with tech-savvy Franklin County jurors. Many jurors implicitly trust gadgets and implicitly distrust people.
Using EDR Evidence in Court
This electronic evidence is usually more specific that eyewitness testimony. For example, a witness might say a vehicle was speeding. An EDR conclusively proves that the vehicle was traveling 87mph.
This proof is conclusive because, unlike eyewitness testimony, computers are never wrong or biased, as long as the gadgets were working properly. In other words, EDR evidence is almost bulletproof in court.
EDR proof sometimes makes or breaks a case. But unless a Columbus personal injury attorney has the right skill set and acts quickly, this critical evidence is often unavailable.
This proof involves technical issues. Any lawyer can talk to a witness, but not any lawyer can access and download EDR data. A lawyer needs the proper tools, and not just a laptop and a screwdriver.
Furthermore, EDRs involve legal hurdles. Ohio has very strict vehicle information privacy laws. To overcome these laws, a Columbus personal injury lawyer usually needs a court order. Judges don’t hand out these orders like toys at Christmas. An attorney must have a compelling reason to bypass the privacy law and obtain this proof.
All these things assume the EDR is available. Unless an attorney acts within a few days, that’s normally not the case. Generally, insurance companies quickly destroy wrecked vehicles. If that happens, the EDR, and any other physical evidence inside the vehicle, is gone forever.
To stop that from happening, attorneys send spoliation letters to insurance companies. These letters force these companies to retain any potential physical evidence, including the EDR, for future inspection.
Speak With a Dedicated Franklin County Lawyer
Injury victims are entitled to substantial compensation. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney in Columbus, contact the Oliver Law Office. We do not charge upfront legal fees in these matters.
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