Electronic Evidence In Car Wreck Claims
In many car crash claims, the evidentiary triangle of medical bills, the victim’s testimony, and the police accident report is enough to establish negligence, or a lack of care, by a preponderance of the evidence, or more likely than not.
However, all three legs of this triangle are not always available or effective. If the victim did not survive the crash, this testimony is unavailable. Alternatively, if the victim sustained a serious head injury, the victim’s recollection might be foggy, at best.
A San Jose car accident attorney can look other places for the proof required in these situations. The aforementioned burden of proof is rather low in these cases. So, a little electronic evidence goes a long way.
Surveillance Video Footage
Frequently, a picture really is worth a thousand words, especially in court. Instead of listening to the victim describe events, jurors can see these events unfold before their very eyes. Furthermore, a skilled attorney can point out details jurors might otherwise miss.
There is more good news. Assuming the camera was working properly, video evidence is practically bulletproof in court. Witnesses, especially victims, are sometimes biased or incorrect. But a camera simply records what happens in front of its lens.
It’s often difficult to obtain this evidence. The camera’s owner is usually not a party in the case, so a simple subpoena might not be enough. Instead, an attorney must make more complex arrangements.
Event Data Recorders
Many people do not know that the vehicle they drive, and almost every vehicle which passes them on the road, has an EDR. These contraptions are much like the black box flight data recorders in commercial airliners.
Aviation investigators rely on black boxes to help them piece together the events leading to a crash. An attorney uses an EDR the same way. Depending on their make and model, these machines typically measure and record items like:
- Brake application,
- Steering angle,
- Engine RPM, and
- Vehicle speed.
Sometimes, EDR information is more effective than eyewitness testimony. For example, a witness might say that a car was speeding. An EDR proves that a car was travelling 66.5mph. Furthermore, computer evidence is hard to successfully challenge in court, as outlined above.
But the news is not all good. In many car crash claims, critical EDR evidence is often unavailable.
California has very strict vehicle information privacy laws. So, attorneys usually must obtain court orders before they can access and download EDR information.
This technical process is often complex. Today’s EDRs are very sensitive and sophisticated devices. An attorney needs a lot more than a laptop and a screwdriver to access the EDR without damaging it. Frequently, an attorney partners with a mechanic or other professional in these situations.
All this assumes the EDR is physically available. That’s not always the case. Most insurance companies destroy wrecked vehicles within a few days of an accident. Once that happens, any physical evidence the vehicle contains, including the EDR, is gone.
Therefore, attorneys usually send spoliation letters to insurance companies. These letters create a legal duty to preserve all potential physical evidence for later inspection.
Contact a Diligent Attorney
Electronic evidence is often critical in vehicle collision claims. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney in San Jose, contact Solution Now Law Firm. Home, virtual, and hospital visits are available.