Can Your Car’s Event Data Recorder Help Your Accident Claim?

By Pyle Law, Reviewed by E. THomas Pyle August 22 2023 4:59 pm

Can Your Car’s Event Data Recorder Help Your Accident Claim?

By Pyle Law, Reviewed by E. THomas Pyle August 22 2023 4:59 pm
Can Your Car’s Event Data Recorder Help Your Accident Claim?

If your car was manufactured after 2014, it likely comes with a black box. The black box works similar to one in an airplane. In the event of an accident, the black box provides key details leading up to it. This information can help determine the cause of the accident. If your vehicle is in an accident, the black box can also be used as evidence to prove an insurance claim or personal injury claim. 

An experienced Kansas car accident lawyer can help you access EDR data in order to better illustrate liability of the other driver via negligence.


Many cars are equipped with a black box. 

In a motor vehicle, a “black box” is the common nickname for an event data recorder (EDR). It is made from crash-resistant material and usually sits behind the steering wheel and dashboard. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) required that most light vehicles be manufactured including an EDR starting in 2014. Cars made before 2014 may not have an event data recorder, which should be designed in order to be accessed easily. 

A car black box differs from an airplane black box in that it does not record sound. It does, however, record valuable information that includes:

  • The speed of the car at the time of the accident
  • Airbag deployment
  • Throttle position
  • Brake application
  • Steering angles
  • Several seconds before, during, and after the crash

A car manufacturer can use this information to determine whether the accident was a result of human error that can be improved upon or prevented, or if it was the result of mechanical failure. 


Who does EDR information belong to?

The Driver Privacy Act was passed in 2015 and it names the owner or individual leasing a vehicle the owner of the EDR unit and data it collects. Therefore in the event of a crash investigation, this information can be accessed only if:

  • Access is authorized via a court order
  • An investigator requires the information for traffic research
  • The owner or lessee has provided written consent
  • The owner or lessee is liable in an accident and information is needed to investigate and aid in any injuries sustained

Currently, only 15 states have developed consent and privacy laws regarding EDR data–Kansas is not yet one of these states.


EDR Data is trustworthy.

EDR data is considered a reliable source for a court case. It is accepted as a form of evidence. The few times when EDR may be disputed are when the technology malfunctioned at the time of the crash; photographic evidence is more convincing than EDR data; or the unit did not function adequately. 


Not just anyone can access EDR data.

It is normal to wonder how your black box will be used if you need the information stored on it to prove fault for another driver. Luckily, no one can use your vehicle’s black box without your consent. The access is made more difficult by the fact that it requires a crash data retrieval system that costs thousands of dollars to retrieve the information. 

Few places have access to this equipment–law enforcement, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and the car’s manufacturer are a select few who do. An insurance company may not access this information without your consent–therefore you do not have to fear an adjustment in your insurance rate. 

However, when reviewing the terms of an insurance policy, we recommend that you sign only if you agree to 100% of the terms. Be careful of what you agree to, for this can mean that an insurance provider can cleverly gain consent for access to EDR data if you have agreed to help settle claims.


How can EDR data be used to prove your case?

Sifting through details of a car accident can be frustrating when each side has a story. Who is telling the truth? If you believe that you are telling the truth, can you trust that your information is accurate? If another party is lying, how can you prove this when this person sounds convincing? 

An EDR provides specific data that helps to fill in the blanks of the details of the accident. Data may be able to ascertain the circumstances surrounding your accident to paint a clearer picture of what happened. Details include the location of impact; the measure of impact force; speed changes; and direction of impact. This information can be used to determine liability and offer information that supports the cause of injury or the reason for the severity or minimal nature.


Contact an experienced Kansas car accident lawyer today

A black box can be a powerful resource to prove that you are the victim of an accident. It can provide important details that prove another driver is at fault. With this information, you can pursue compensation for damages with confidence that you have the necessary supporting evidence to prove your case. The attorneys at Pyle Law can work with you to utilize EDR data to your benefit. Contact us today to set up a free appointment.


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Pyle Law was founded in 1999 with a commitment to fewer clients and better service. We believe that each and every client is important and everyone is entitled to justice and equal protection under our laws. We make every case a priority and are committed to keeping each client informed about the status of their case. We do not guarantee results, but we do guarantee effort.


This page has been written, edited, and reviewed by a team of legal writers following our comprehensive editorial guidelines. This page was approved by attorney E. Thomas Pyle who has more than 20 years of legal experience as a practicing personal injury trial attorney.