Resending: Is the EDR Data Related to Your Crash?

It's in the Details

from Dial Engineering

Welcome to another edition of It’s in the Details, a short newsletter intended to provide helpful information for those in the litigation industry who deal with forensic engineering experts and their work.

Is the EDR Data Related to Your Crash?

Our firm has seen a move by some of our clients to obtain their own kit to download automobile black boxes, also known as Event Data Recorders, or EDRs. Not all law firms or insurance companies are equipped to have such technology as it involves a significant capital outlay for hardware, software, and user training. However, having such a kit on board can allow, for example, a claimant’s attorney to vet his client’s description of events, or an insurance company to evaluate their insured’s story.

We heartily applaud our qualified clients having such a kit in their arsenal. After all, we don’t need to “be the hero” and download every car – we just want the data! Having said this, a recent experience with a client reminded us and the client about the value of having a forensic expert at least review such EDR data once it’s been downloaded from the car.

Our long-time attorney client had his associate download the EDR data from the opposing party’s vehicle. Then our client sat on the EDR data for the better part of a year, presuming it was related to the subject crash. However, this was an older vehicle that did not record things like the date, time, or odometer reading relating to the event. When the client eventually retained us and allowed us to look at the EDR data, we pointed out an anomaly, namely, the EDR data was indicating there was no passenger seated in the right front seat at the time of the collision. However, during the crash, the car was full of people and that seat was indeed being occupied.

This naturally caused some consternation in our client who had presumed the data his office downloaded was related to the subject crash. And, he had been developing his case based on that presumption. Fortunately, our firm was able to determine that the make and model of car involved had been subject to a recall involving the front passenger seat occupant detection system. We were further able to reconstruct the crash and determine that the EDR data was consistent with the physical evidence. Both of these efforts assisted our client in positively resolving the case.

We relate this story as a suggestion to retain a properly trained forensic expert whenever you’re given an EDR report from a vehicle involved in a crash. Doing so can either confirm or deny presumptions you may have been making about such data and save you from sleepless nights down the road.

Thanks for reading, and feel free to reach out to us with any technical questions you might have about this or other topics related to forensic engineering.

Dial Engineering

10736 Jefferson Blvd #519

Culver City, CA 90230

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