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Crashed electric car in severe accident

Electric Car Accidents: Black Box & Personal Injury Claims

Law Office Of Mark A. Cornelius P.A. April 20, 2023

According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), at least 95 percent of vehicles built since the start of this century contain what are known as “black boxes.” These devices record important information when a crash occurs—speed, brake usage, maneuvering and more—all of which are data that could prove useful in an accident settlement or personal injury lawsuit. 

In the automotive world, a black box is often referred to as an event data recorder (EDR). They’re installed on many types of modern vehicles, including electric vehicles (EVs). 

If you have been involved in an accident with an EV in or around Altamonte Springs, Florida, and want to know how the EV’s black box could play into a settlement or personal injury lawsuit, contact me at The Law Office of Mark A. Cornelius P.A. I have more than 25 years’ experience in helping victims of car accidents receive the just compensation they deserve. I proudly serve clients in Seminole, Osceola, Orange, and Volusia, as well as throughout the counties of Polk and Lake. 

What Is a Black Box?

A black box is a name for a data recorder similar to those used on airplanes. In terms of auto vehicles, it’s formally called an event data recorder (EDR). They’re tucked away in a fairly inaccessible location in the dash area of your vehicle and tied into the airbag control module, or ACM. Both gas-powered and EVs can have event data recorders installed.  

While they’re not required to have on your car, they’ve become a standard feature on all new cars. So if you’re wondering whether or not your car has one, it’s safe to say that you do, especially if you drive an EV or any other car that was made in the 21st century. 

So what do they do? Well, they collect data during the 20 seconds or so leading up to and after a collision. The data on your black box ultimately belongs to you, as established by the Driver Privacy Act of 2015. If an accident occurs and law enforcement officers want to access the information stored on your device, they will have to obtain a search warrant.  

What Accident Data Does the Black Box Collect?

These tracking devices are getting more sophisticated as the years go by and new car models and EVs are introduced. In the case of a collision, an EDR will often record data leading up to and following the accident, including: 

  • vehicle speed 

  • throttle position 

  • airbag deployment 

  • seatbelt usage 

  • steering wheel direction 

  • braking patterns 

  • date and time 

Some newer models can also track up to 30 different types of data, including headlight usage, road conditions, technology use by driver and passenger, and lane assist performance. 

Black Boxes and Personal Injury Claims

If you’ve been injured in a collision with an EV or another vehicle, you will need to obtain a court order to access the black box data. Such data can be used to show that the other driver failed to exercise the proper “duty of care” required by all drivers; in other words, the data can help prove that they were negligent or driving recklessly. Your attorney will need to file the proper motions to obtain the data and then employ it in an advantageous way. 

Legal Counsel You Can Trust After an EV Accident

With my more than 25 years’ experience in car accident and personal injury claims, I have become well-versed in black box data usage and will help you pursue your claim to get the just compensation you deserve. Contact me immediately at The Law Office of Mark A. Cornelius P.A. if you’re in or around Altamonte Springs. Your first consultation is free.