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What Does The EDR Mean To Your Port St. Lucie Car Crash Claim?

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When a commercial jet crashes, investigators usually make finding the black box flight recorder one of their top priorities. This gadget gives valuable information about the plane’s mechanical operations in the moments before it went down.

The Event Data Recorder is basically the same thing. Nearly all the passenger vehicles in Florida have one of these devices, yet many people do not even know it. The EDR holds potentially valuable information about the car crash claim. And, like flight investigators looking for black boxes, Port St. Lucie personal injury attorneys must act quickly and decisively to preserve this information.

This action is important, because the damages in a Florida car crash claim are often significant. If the victim sustained a serious injury, compensation includes money for economic damages, such as medical bills, as well as money for noneconomic losses, such as pain and suffering.

Information on a Port St. Lucie EDR

Event Data Recorders are actually not new. The first ones appeared in the 1960s. But until recently, EDRs had very limited capabilities. Most only recorded a couple of items, such as airbag deployment or seat belt usage. But today’s EDRs do much more. Capability varies according to make and model. But most of these devices measure and record items like:

  • Vehicle speed,
  • Steering angle,
  • Engine acceleration/deceleration,
  • Airbag deployment,
  • Brake application, and
  • Other mechanical data.

In court, the EDR has several pluses. It is very specific. A witness may say that the car was speeding, but the EDR information can show that it was travelling at 65.9mph.

Furthermore, eyewitnesses are sometimes mistaken or biased. A good insurance company defense lawyer can take advantage of these flaws and essentially ruin the witness’ credibility. But that’s usually not possible regarding electronic information. Assuming the device was calibrated properly and in good working order, it’s almost impossible to challenge or even question EDR evidence.

Obtaining and Using EDR Data in Florida

If the vehicle was totaled, most insurance companies will destroy it within a matter of days. A personal injury attorney cannot allow that to happen. If the insurance company destroys the car, any physical evidence it contains, including the EDR, is gone forever.

A spoliation letter is basically the only way to stop such evidence destruction. This letter puts the insurance company on notice about a potential claim. More specifically, the letter creates a legal duty to preserve any possible evidence in the case, including the EDR. If the insurance company ignores the letter and “accidentally” destroys evidence, a Port St. Lucie judge may punish the defendant rather badly.

Preserving this evidence is not enough. These devices are quite intricate. It usually takes a lot more than a screwdriver and a laptop to download the information they contain. Only a highly experienced personal injury attorney has the resources and know-how necessary to do the job.

Furthermore, Florida has very strict EDR privacy laws. Typically, an attorney must get a court order to inspect these devices and download the information they contain.

Contact Experienced Lawyers

Electronic evidence, or the lack of it, may make or break a case. For a free consultation with an experienced personal injury attorney in Port St. Lucie, contact Eighmie Law Firm, P.A. We do not charge upfront legal fees in negligence cases.

Resource:

nhtsa.gov/research-data/event-data-recorder

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