Two Pieces Of Tech That Can Help Or Hurt Your Car Crash Case
Technology is a sword that cuts both ways. It can help you slice through a liable party's defense in an accident lawsuit or it can drastically slash your chances of recovering money for injuries to shreds. Here are two pieces of modern-day technology that can either help or hurt your auto accident lawsuit.
The Little Black Box
Airplanes have flight recorders that capture audio in the cockpit and information from the airplanes' computers while the machines are in the air. These flight recorders are indestructible and tamper-proof, which allows investigators to get unadulterated testimony about what may have happened in the event of a crash or other adverse incident.
Auto manufacturers liked this idea so much, they put black boxes in vehicles. The technology has been around since 1994 and builds upon existing systems in the vehicle that monitor speed, breaking, and other factors to determine when the car has been involved in an accident. About 96 percent of the cars sold in 2013 had black boxes, and a law was passed in September 2014 requiring all new vehicles to have one.
These black boxes only store about 20 seconds worth of information at a time. However, this tiny bit of information can tell an expert a lot about what happened in the moments leading up to an accident. For example, former Representative Bill Janklow was convicted of manslaughter partly based on the information obtained from the black box in his vehicle that indicated he may have run a stop sign prior to hitting a motorcyclist.
The Janklow case is a prime example of how modern-day technology can hurt your case. At the same time, it can help you in the same way too...if you can get the data. About 17 states have laws on the books outlining who can obtain the information contained on black boxes. In California, for instance, you can only get the data from the recorder if you have a court order or the vehicle's owner agrees to provide access to it.
Another hurdle that must be crossed is that the data typically requires special equipment to extract and an expert to interpret, which may necessitate spending a bit of time and money. Still, if you think accessing the information contained on the black box of the defendant's vehicle will help you, your attorney can assist you with retrieving it.
Real-Time Driving Tracking Device
Most likely you've seen those commercials from auto insurance companies where the spokesperson declares you can save a lot of money on your car insurance by simply plugging a tracking device in your car. These devices function similarly to a vehicular black box. It tracks your speed, how often you use your breaks, how hard you hit the brakes, and other driving related information.
Unlike black boxes, these tracking devices transmit the data collected to the insurance company, where it is compiled and analyzed to determine how well or badly you drive. Typically, customers can log into a special site provided by the insurance company to see some of the information the device has collected on their driving habits.
The purpose of these devices is to allow the insurance company to determine how much of a risk you are as a driver and adjust your insurance rates accordingly. However, the information collected by these tracking devices can and has been used in court for a number of purposes. For instance, a man was able to escape being convicted of murder using the data on his tracking device.
Insurance companies typically comply with court orders, so anyone can obtain the records the insurance company has. You can also present a subpoena directly to the defendant and order them to download and turn over the records the person has access to. You can then use the information to bolster a specific claim in your case or show a pattern of driving behavior over time.
If you think this technology can help you win your court case, contact a car crash attorney from a firm like The Jaklitsch Law Group to discuss the best way to obtain what you need.