Witness statements, accident reports, medical records, and victim testimony are all highly effective and typical types of evidence in a car accident case. However, traditional evidence may only go so far in a car accident case, since there can be credibility issues, conflicting stories, bias, difficulties with collecting items at the scene, and many other challenges. Electronic evidence from a variety of sources, like dash cams, can provide critical information and evidence for your case.
Many types of evidence from a car accident can be collected in electronic form. Photographs of the crash scene and/or of skid marks on the road might be taken with a digital camera. If a traffic light was ignored, nearby traffic cams might have captured that violation. Other witnesses may have captured the crash on their cell phones. Even police accident reports may be taken and stored in electronic format. Expert testimony can be used to interpret cellular data and determine whether a defendant was likely on his or her smartphone at the time of a collision.
Event Data Recorders in Car Accidents
Most newer automobiles in the United States are equipped with an event data recorder (EDR). The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration defines this technology as a device that can record a vehicle’s technical and occupant information during the moments before, during, and after a collision. The technology can measure and capture such information as:
- Vehicle speed;
- The rate of acceleration and deceleration;
- Steering angle;
- Brake application; and,
- Many other metrics.
The data recorded by an EDR can be critical in an auto collision case because it can provide a more accurate, credible picture of fault. Assuming there are no technological defects, EDR information is accurate and will always be unbiased, unlike individuals’ recollections or witness statements. Instead of going by the other driver’s word denying that he or she was speeding, the vehicle’s black box will show the exact miles per hour. Plus, the EDR data can also be used to prove that you were not speeding and not at fault.
Dash Cam Evidence in a Car Accident
The Consumer Technology Association predicts a 35% rise in dash cam purchases in 2021. Whether purchased for protection against potential lawsuits and insurance claims or protection from racial bias during a traffic stop, dash cams use is on the rise. Newer models of smartphones can even act as a dashcam. Most states allow the use of dash cams with some restrictions regarding their physical placement in a car so that they don't restrict a driver’s outward visibility. But some states have privacy laws that make it illegal to record audio of someone in a private space—such as inside a car—without his or her consent.
If you have clear dash cam video footage of what happened before, during or just after an incident – particularly video with the time and date recorded on the image or embedded in metadata – few will argue with what the footage shows. For example, if you were involved in a hit and run accident, your dash cam could capture the color, make and model of the car as well as potentially the license plate. The camera could also capture details such as:
- You drove straight ahead and within your lane.
- You went the proper speed.
- The other driver’s vehicle hit you on the left (or right) as it passed.
- The vehicle moved ahead of you and, perhaps, swerved into your lane.
- The dash cam may also capture what happened after the crash such as the driver’s apology, hostility or impairment from drugs or alcohol.
If you are thinking about installing a dash cam in your own vehicle, keep in mind: It will not play favors. If you get into an accident, and another driver is at fault, the dash cam will capture it. However, if you are at fault, the camera will capture that, too.
Our New Jersey Car Accident Lawyers Leverage All Evidence
Electronic information gathered from EDRs, dash cams and related sources can be vital to an auto crash claim, especially when combined with other solid evidence and an excellent legal approach. If you’ve been injured in a car accident, don’t wait. Contact us today for a free consultation. With our proven track record of success and our commitment to client care, we can turn your setback into a comeback.