The Importance of an Evidence Preservation Letter
As an experienced attorney helping those injured in car accidents, the very first thing that must be done on any case is serving the insurance company with an Evidence Preservation Letter.
Essentially, this letter is a document kept on file that preserves a hurt person’s right to inspect the other vehicle that caused the accident. Upon receipt of such a letter by the insurance company, the at-fault vehicle should not be repaired and must be preserved until the personal injury attorney has had an opportunity to inspect the vehicle and its contents.
What’s an Event Data Recorder (EDR)?
Specifically, this letter should clearly request that the vehicle not be repaired and that the Event Data Recorder (EDR) be preserved and not altered in any way. An Event Data Recorder is a device installed in some vehicles that records information related to accidents. Among other uses, the EDR may be utilized to determine the speed of a vehicle just seconds prior to the crash. Naturally, this can be a powerful evidentiary tool for personal injury lawyers in litigation stemming from car crashes. Alternatively, it may also be used against the claimants in the event that the EDR reveals speeding just prior to the accident.
Usage of Event Data Recorders
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), EDRs may record the following within seconds before, during, and after a car accident:
- Pre-crash vehicle dynamics and system status
- Driver inputs
- Vehicle crash signature
- Restraint usage/deployment status
- Post-crash data – the activation of an automatic collision notification system.
In fact, the NHTSA has been utilizing EDRs to support its findings following certain traffic accidents or even to serve as a foundational basis for certain studies released to the public.
In car accident cases, personal injury lawyers must ensure that the Event Data Recorders are preserved immediately following the crash. In contested liability cases involving intersection car accidents, the EDR is typically the only objective piece of evidence that can be put before a jury.
More on EDRs
As of 2014, the NHTSA required EDRs in all light-passenger vehicles. Approximately 96 percent of model year 2013 cars are already equipped with EDR capability.
EDR data must include the following to help prove fault in an accident:
- Crash event duration
- Forward and lateral crash force
- Indicated vehicle speed
- Accelerator position
- Engine rpm
- Vehicle rollover
- Air bag set, speed, and faults for all air bags
- Number of impacts
Schedule a Personalized Consultation
The importance of properly serving the opposing party with an Evidence Preservation Letter is tantamount to a successful litigation and possible spoliation of evidence claim.
Don’t dispute over who’s at fault. If you or a loved one have been injured in a car accident, Car Accident attorney Brandon Stein and his experienced legal team at SteinLaw understand the importance of proving who is at fault with an Event Data Recorder.
Contact SteinLaw today or visit https://www.steinlaw.com/ to schedule a free and confidential initial consultation.