Car Wreck Black Box

January 4, 2010 Published by

We have all heard about the black box in an airplane.  The black box (it’s not really black, but brightly colored to stand out among crash wreckage) is the cockpit voice recorder.  The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) always searches for this voice recorder to try to piece together  the facts about a jet crash or helicopter crash.  The recorder gives a good insight into the thoughts and actions of the pilots before and during a midair emergency.

Did you know that every modern automobile and truck is equipped with a version of the black box?  Why?  Car crashes cause hundreds of millions of dollars in property damage and personal injury every year.

Injuries are often quite severe.  They include brain injury, back injury, paralysis, spinal cord injury and wrongful death.  In fact, car accidents and highway accidents are a leading cause of lost wages and lost productivity in the USA.  Accident lawyers, like Young and Young, have known that the primary purpose of the tort law (the law allowing compensation for injury caused by negligent acts) is accident and injury prevention.  It is only when we fail in the initial purpose that we turn to the secondary purpose of the law, compensation for the injured people and their families.  The car black box is designed and used in an attempt to prevent future collisions.

The black box is a computer device that records several sources of information during the operation of a vehicle.  The black box records, among other things, the speed of a car just before and at the time of the collision, and whether the brakes were applied and when.  The information recorded is objective, meaning that it is not likely to be influenced by the people in the collision.  As we are coming to understand, eyewitness testimony is generally not a reliable source of information in a complex collision involving high speeds and multiple cars or events.  Without intending to, in most cases, the position of the witness, his/her relationship to the people in the car crash and other factors influence what they recall and to what they can testify.   Another problem with eyewitness testimony is generally it can take a couple of years for a trial to be held after a collision, and memories can fade.  The black box is not subject to these complications.

If a highway accident or car accident occurs and fault for the collision is disputed obtaining the information from the black box can determine who was really at fault.  This means that initially after the collision both cars should be preserved until the information on the black box can be retrieved.  In some cases the cars will be a total loss and storage fees will build up.  In other cases the cars can be fixed and driven off.  Therefore, it is very important to hire a good accident attorney.  A good accident lawyer will have the resources and contacts to hire an engineer with the know how to get the black box information.  Getting the information does not take a long time, but it does require specialized equipment and know how, so a qualified engineer or expert is essential.

If you, or your family or friends, are in a highway accident or a car collision, call Young and Young right away.  We have the experience (55 years)  and the contacts and the resources to immediately get the information from the car black box that can be the difference between proving who was the cause of a car accident and who was not.  Please call.

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