Proving who is at fault in a multi-car crash

Determining who is at fault in minor car accidents, such as fender-benders during rush hour and rear-end collisions in parking lots, is often a simple task. However, identifying the cause of a multi-car crash involves many variables. Although Florida has guidelines that help determine who is at fault, it is often challenging to find the vehicle that meets the criteria.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, event data recorders capture occupant information and technical vehicle data. If you have a vehicle manufactured after 2014, it likely has an EDR.

What EDRs do

Event data recorders are devices installed in automobiles. Although some are simple and others are complex, they record only record information related to an event. Also called black boxes, these devices don’t track your vehicle performance or driving constantly. They identify events known to cause car crashes. When one of the events occurs, it triggers the box, and the recording begins. Data the box captures includes the following:

  • Driver inputs
  • Pre-crash vehicle dynamics
  • Safety belt usage and status
  • Activation of an automatic collision notification system

EDRs in commercial vehicles often have a broader scope than passenger cars and trucks. The data collected helps determine if human error or mechanical failure caused the crash.

What accident reconstructionists do

People with specific training use scientific methods for answering how and why an accident happened. These individuals are experts in their industry and often have physics or engineering backgrounds. Retired law enforcement officials frequently become accident investigators, and their field experience is invaluable.

They use data collected from the accident scene and work backward. Investigators look at driver behavior, collision severity, the speed of each vehicle involved and road conditions at the time of the crash. In addition to physical evidence, the black box information can help prove who caused the collision and may help ensure the insurance company pays your injury claim.